Clinical validity of Braak neuropathological staging in the oldest-old.
ABSTRACT Several studies have demonstrated a good correlation between clinical severity and Braak's neuropathological staging in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, nonagenarians and centenarians display a different pattern of cortical vulnerability to the neurodegenerative process compared to younger elderly, and it is not known whether correlations between clinical severity and neuropathological stages remain valid in this age group. To address this issue we compared Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR) scores and Braak stages in 116 patients over 90 years of age with either no cognitive impairment or very mild to severe AD. There is a strong positive correlation between CDR scores and Braak staging (Spearman coefficient = 0.66; P < 0.01). However, neuropathological staging does not distinguish cases with normal cognition (CDR 0) from those with mild cognitive changes (CDR 0.5). Unlike younger cohorts, Braak stages I and II are frequently associated with questionable dementia in this age group. Braak stage III overlaps with all CDR levels and correlates poorly with cognitive function. Braak stages IV or greater are consistently associated with at least mild dementia. Consistent with our previous neuropathological analyses of nonagenarians and centenarians, the present data suggest that the substantial involvement of the hippocampus which characterizes Braak stage IV is a key step in the development of overt clinical signs of dementia in the oldest-old. Moreover, they indicate that Braak staging represents a broad concept of the evolution of neurofibrillary tangles rather than a precise hierarchical model associated with a stepwise deterioration of cognitive abilities near the upper limit of life.
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ABSTRACT: The goal of this review is to discuss how behavioral tests in mice relate to the pathological and neuropsychological features seen in human Alzheimer's disease (AD), and present a comprehensive analysis of the temporal progression of behavioral impairments in commonly used AD mouse models that contain mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP). We begin with a brief overview of the neuropathological changes seen in the AD brain and an outline of some of the clinical neuropsychological assessments used to measure cognitive deficits associated with the disease. This is followed by a critical assessment of behavioral tasks that are used in AD mice to model the cognitive changes seen in the human disease. Behavioral tests discussed include spatial memory tests [Morris water maze (MWM), radial arm water maze (RAWM), Barnes maze], associative learning tasks (passive avoidance, fear conditioning), alternation tasks (Y-Maze/T-Maze), recognition memory tasks (Novel Object Recognition), attentional tasks (3 and 5 choice serial reaction time), set-shifting tasks, and reversal learning tasks. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of these behavioral tasks, and how they may correlate with clinical assessments in humans. Finally, the temporal progression of both cognitive and non-cognitive deficits in 10 AD mouse models (PDAPP, TG2576, APP23, TgCRND8, J20, APP/PS1, TG2576 + PS1 (M146L), APP/PS1 KI, 5×FAD, and 3×Tg-AD) are discussed in detail. Mouse models of AD and the behavioral tasks used in conjunction with those models are immensely important in contributing to our knowledge of disease progression and are a useful tool to study AD pathophysiology and the resulting cognitive deficits. However, investigators need to be aware of the potential weaknesses of the available preclinical models in terms of their ability to model cognitive changes observed in human AD. It is our hope that this review will assist investigators in selecting an appropriate mouse model, and accompanying behavioral paradigms to investigate different aspects of AD pathology and disease progression.Frontiers in Genetics 04/2014; 5:88.
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ABSTRACT: Disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD) have focused mainly on reducing levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) in the brain. Some compounds have achieved this goal, but none has produced clinically meaningful results. Several methodological issues relating to clinical trials of these agents might explain this failure; an additional consideration is that the amyloid cascade hypothesis-which places amyloid plaques at the heart of AD pathogenesis-does not fully integrate a large body of data relevant to the emergence of clinical AD. Importantly, amyloid deposition is not strongly correlated with cognition in multivariate analyses, unlike hyperphosphorylated tau, neurofibrillary tangles, and synaptic and neuronal loss, which are closely associated with memory deficits. Targeting tau pathology, therefore, might be more clinically effective than Aβ-directed therapies. Furthermore, numerous immunization studies in animal models indicate that reduction of intracellular levels of tau and phosphorylated tau is possible, and is associated with improved cognitive performance. Several tau-related vaccines are in advanced preclinical stages and will soon enter clinical trials. In this article, we present a critical analysis of the failure of Aβ-directed therapies, discuss limitations of the amyloid cascade hypothesis, and suggest the potential value of tau-targeted therapy for AD.Nature Reviews Neurology 11/2013; · 15.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive degeneration of the brain, inducing memory decline, inability in learning, and behavioral alterations, resulting progressively in a marked deterioration of all mental activities and eventually a vegetative state. The main causative factor, however, is still unclear. The implication of amyloid-β, AβPP, tau protein, the selective loss of neurons, the alteration of the synapses, the cytoskeletal changes, and the morphological alterations of the brain capillaries contribute substantially to the pathogenetic profile of the disease, without sufficiently enlightening the initial steps of the pathological procedures. The ultrastructure of the neuronal organelles as well as histochemical studies revealed substantial alterations, primarily concerning mitochondria. In this study, the morphological and morphometric alterations of the Golgi apparatus (GA) are described in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum in twenty AD brains, studied with electron microscopy. As it is well established, GA has a very important role to play in many procedures such as glycosylation, sulfation, and proteolysis of protein systems, which are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum of nerve cells and glia. GA may also play a crucial role in protein trafficking and in misfolding of protein aggregates. In addition, the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein is closely related with the pathology of GA. In AD cases, described in this study, an obvious fragmentation of the cisternae of GA was observed in the Purkinje cells of the vermis and the cerebellar hemispheres. This alteration of GA may be associated with alterations of microtubules, impaired protein trafficking, and dendritic, spinal, and synaptic pathology, since protein trafficking plays an essential role in the three dimensional organization of the dendritic arbor and in the integrity of the synaptic components.Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 06/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor