J Alzheimers Dis 2018 ;64(2):483-496
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, School of Biological Sciences, Division of Neuroscience& Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester, Salford Royal Hospital, Salford, UK.
The neuropathological changes responsible for cognitive impairment and dementia remain incompletely understood. Longitudinal studies with a brain donation end point allow the opportunity to examine relationships between cognitive status and neuropathology. We report on the first 97 participants coming to autopsy with sufficient clinical information from The University of Manchester Longitudinal Study of Cognition in Normal Healthy Old Age. This study began in 1983 and recruited 6,542 healthy individuals between 1983 and 1994, 312 of whom consented to brain donation. Alzheimer-type pathology was common throughout the cohort and generally correlated well with cognitive status. However, there was some overlap between cognitive status and measures of Alzheimer pathology with 26% of cognitively intact participants reaching either CERAD B or C, 11% reaching Thal phase 4 or 5, and 29% reaching Braak stage III- VI. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy(CAA), α-synuclein, and TDP-43 pathology was less common, but when present correlated well with cognitive status. Possession of APOEɛ4 allele(s) was associated with more severe Alzheimer-type and CAA pathology and earlier death, whereas possession of APOEɛ2 allele(s) had no effect on pathology but was more common in cognitively intact individuals. The University of Manchester Longitudinal Study of Cognition in Normal Healthy Old Age cohort is pathologically representative when compared with similar studies. Cognitive impairment in life correlates strongly with all pathologies examined and the APOE status of an individual can affect pathology severity and longevity.