Altered proteins in the aging brain
Sammanfattning: The classification of neurodegenerative disorders is based on the major component of the protein aggregates in the brain. The most common altered proteins associated with neurodegeneration are Hyperphosphorylated tau (HPt), beta amyloid (Aβ), alpha-synclein (αS) and transactive response DNA binding protein 43 (TDP43). In this study we assessed the incidence and the neuroanatomical distribution of proteins associated with neurodegeneration in the brain tissue of cognitively unimpaired subjects.We demonstrated the early involvement of the Locus Coeruleus (LC) with HPt pathology in cognitively unimpaired mid aged subjects, a finding which supports the notion that LC is an initiation site of HPt pathology. This may suggest that development of clinical assessment techniques and radiological investigations reflecting early LC alterations may help in identifying subjects with early stages of neurodegeneration.Furthermore, we studied a large cohort of cognitively unimpaired subjects with age at death ≥50 years and we applied the National Institute on Aging –Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Association (NIA-AA) guidelines for the assessment of AD related neuropathological changes. Interestingly, a considerable percentage of the subjects were classified as having an intermediate level of AD pathology. We also showed that the altered proteins; HPt , Aβ, αS, and TDP43 are frequently seen in the brain of cognitively unimpaired subjects with age at death ≥50 years, the incidence of these proteins increased significantly with age. This finding suggests that neurodegeneration has to be extensive to cause functional disturbance and clinical symptoms.Moreover, we investigated the correlation between AD related pathology in cortical biopsies, the AD / cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers and the Mini Mental State examination (MMSE) scores in a cohort of idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (iNPH) patients. We demonstrated that AD/ CSF biomarkers and MMSE scores reflect AD pathology in the cortical biopsies obtained from iNPH patients. In conclusion, this study shows that the altered proteins associated with neurodegeneration are frequently seen in the brain tissue of cognitively unimpaired aged subjects. This fact should be considered while developing diagnostic biomarkers for identification of subjects at early stages of the disease, in order to introduce therapeutic intervention prior to the occurrence of significant cognitive impairment.
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