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Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Because individuals develop dementia as a manifestation of neurodegenerative or neurovascular disorder, there is a need to develop reliable approaches to their identification. We are undertaking an observational study (Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative [ONDRI]) that includes genomics, neuroimaging, and assessments of cognition as well as language, speech, gait, retinal imaging, and eye tracking. Disorders studied include Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. Data from ONDRI will be collected into the Brain-CODE database to facilitate correlative analysis. ONDRI will provide a repertoire of endophenotyped individuals that will be a unique, publicly available resource.
Objective: The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a general cognitive
screening tool that has shown sensitivity in detecting mild levels of
cognitive impairment in various clinical populations. Although mood
dysfunction is common in referrals to memory clinics, the influence of mood
on the MoCA has to date been largely unexplored. Method: In this study, we examined the impact of mood dysfunction on the
MoCA using a memory clinic sample of individuals with depressive symptoms
who did not meet criteria for a neurodegenerative disease. Results: Half of the group with depressive symptoms scored below the
MoCA-suggested cutoff for cognitive impairment. As a group, they scored
below healthy controls, but above individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and
frontotemporal dementia. A MoCA subtask analysis revealed a pattern of
executive/attentional dysfunction in those with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This observed negative impact of depressive symptomatology on the
MoCA has interpretative implications for its utility as a cognitive
screening tool in a memory clinic setting.
The neuropeptide oxytocin, produced in the supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular nuclei (PVN) of the hypothalamus, is now understood to function as a neurotransmitter critical for various aspects of social cognition and pro-social behaviour. While patients with Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) display prominent and progressive deficits in such social behaviours, the integrity of these nuclei in FTD is not known.
We conducted a quantitative neuropathologic examination of the SON and PVN from patients with FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy, Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease and controls to determine whether significant pathologic changes or neuronal loss may contribute to the striking behavioural symptoms of FTD.
Contrary to predictions, we found both nuclei to be free of significant pathologic change (TDP-43) in FTLD. In contrast, tau related pathology was found in the PVN in Alzheimer's disease, and alpha-synuclein pathology in the SON in patients with Lewy body dementia.
These results indicate that the SON and PVN are resistant to FTLD TDP-43 pathology. They also support prior suggestions that the SON is resistant to Alzheimer's disease (AD) related pathology, and extend this to demonstrate SON susceptibility to alpha-synuclein pathology in patients with Lewy body dementia.
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