Alzheimer Disease & Down Syndrome Abstracts

Clin Sci (Colch) 96 (3): 279-85 (1999 Mar)

Increased phosphoglycerate kinase in the brains of patients with Down's syndrome but not with Alzheimer's disease

Labudova O; Kitzmueller E; Rink H; Cairns N; Lubec G
Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18, A 1090 Vienna, Austria

Impaired glucose metabolism in Down's syndrome (DS) has been well-documented in vivo, although information on the underlying biochemical defect is limited and no biochemical studies on glucose handling enzymes have been carried out in the brain. Through gene hunting in fetal DS brain we found an overexpressed sequence homologous to the phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) gene. This finding was studied further by investigating the activity levels of this key enzyme of carbohydrate metabolism in the brains of patients with DS. PGK activity was determined in five brain regions of nine patients with DS, nine patients with Alzheimer's disease and 14 controls. PGK activity was significantly elevated in the frontal, occipital and temporal lobe and in the cerebellum of patients with DS. PGK activity in corresponding brain regions of patients with Alzheimer's disease was comparable with controls. We conclude that our findings complement previously published data on impaired brain glucose metabolism in DS evaluated by positron emission tomography in clinical studies. Furthermore, we show that in DS, impaired glucose metabolism, represented by increased PGK activity, is a specific finding rather than a secondary phenomenon simply due to neurodegeneration or atrophy. These observations are also supportedby data from subtractive hybridization, showing overexpressed PGK in DS brains at the transcriptional level early in life.
Neurobiol Aging 19 (5): 401-5 (1998 Sep-Oct)

Life-long overexpression of S100beta in Down's syndrome: implications for Alzheimer pathogenesis

Griffin WS; Sheng JG; McKenzie JE; Royston MC; Gentleman SM; Brumback RA; Cork LC; Del Bigio MR; Roberts GW; Mrak RE
Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center of the Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock 72205, USA

Chronic overexpression of the neurite growth-promoting factor S100beta has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neuritic plaques in Alzheimer's disease. Such plaques are virtually universal in middle-aged Down's syndrome, making Down's a natural model of Alzheimer's disease. We determined numbers of astrocytes overexpressing S100beta, and of neurons overexpressing beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP), and assayed for neurofibrillary tangles in neocortex of 20 Down's syndrome patients (17 weeks gestation to 68 years). Compared to controls, there were twice as many S100beta-immunoreactive (S100beta+) astrocytes in Down's patients at all ages: fetal, young, and adult (p = 0.01, or better, in each age group). These were activated (i.e., enlarged), and intensely immunoreactive, even in the fetal group. There were no neurofibrillary changes in fetal or young Down's patients. The numbers of S100beta+ astrocytes in young and adult Down's patients correlated with the numbers of neurons overexpressing beta-APP (p < 0.05). Our findings are consistent with the idea that conditions—including Down's syndrome—that promote chronic overexpression of S100beta may confer increased risk for later development of Alzheimer's disease.
Arch Neurol 43 (3): 380-3 (1998 Mar)

Molecular mapping of Alzheimer-type dementia in Down's syndrome

VP Prasher; Farrer MJ; Kessling AM; Fisher EM West RJ; Barber PC; Butler AC
Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Previous research has hypothesized an association between Alzheimer's disease and the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene found on chromosome 21. We report the case of a 78-year-old woman with Down's syndrome with partial trisomy 21 [46,XX,rec(21)dup q, inv(21) (p12q22.1)]. No evidence of Alzheimer's disease was found on neuropsychological, magnetic resonance imaging, and neuropathological assessment. The gene sequence for APP was present in only two copies. This case further supports the hypothesis that Alzheimer's disease is associated with trisomy for proximal chromosome 21q, including the APP gene.
Arch Neurol 53 (11): 1162-1166 (1996 Dec)

Abnormal Pattern of Platelet APP Isoforms in Alzheimer Disease and Down Syndrome

Monica Di Luca; Lucia Pastorino; Flaminio Cattabeni; Raffaella Zanardi; Silvio Scarone; Giorgio Racagni; Enrico Smeraldi; Jorge Perez

Objective: To determine if changes in levels of amyloid precursor protein (APP) isoforms in periphery are associated with Alzheimer disease and Down syndrome. Design: After subjects were grouped according to diagnosis, APP isoform levels in platelets were compared. Setting: University medical center. Subjects: Ten patients who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for probable Alzheimer disease, 22 healthy volunteers, and 7 elderly (mean age, 42.7 years) and 7 young (mean age, 19.0 years) patients with Down syndrome. Main Outcome Measures: The levels of APP isoforms were evaluated by means of Western blot analysis and immunostaining of whole platelets. Results: The ratio between the 130- and the 106- to 110-kd APP isoforms was markedly lower in patients with Alzheimer disease and in elderly patients with Down syndrome than in control subjects. In young patients with Down syndrome, the ratio did not significantly differ from that in control subjects. Conclusions: A consistent alteration in platelet APP isoforms has been found in Alzheimer disease and Down syndrome. Further studies will determine whether this alteration could provide a peripheral biochemical marker of the disorder and whether it could intervene in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease.
Dementia 7 (3): 135-41 (1996 May-Jun)

Differential susceptibility to neurofibrillary pathology among patients with Down syndrome

Wegiel J; Wisniewski HM; Dziewiatkowski J; Popovitch ER; Tarnawski M
New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island, NY

Abstract: Individual differences in the development of neurofibrillary changes were examined in eight cortical regions in the brains of 43 subjects with Down syndrome (DS; age range, 15-69 years) using sections stained with monoclonal antibodies (mAb) tau-1 and 3-39. Neurofibrillary pathology was found in 4 cases below 36 years of age and in all 20 cases above that age. In the 24 positive cases, numerical density of pretangles stained with tau-1 and 3-39, respectively, was 6.1/mm2 and 0/mm2; early tangles, 5.0/mm2 and 5.3/mm2; mature tangles, 4.0/mm2 and 5.0/mm2 (p < 0.01); and end-stage tangles, 0.04/mm2 and 2.5/mm2 (p < 0.001). Numerical density of pretangles stained with mAb tau-1 and tangles and plaques stained with mAb 3-39 correlates weakly with age (r = 0.43; p < 0.02), and together with the wide range of numerical densities suggested heterogeneity of the population examined. Cluster analysis based on two variables - i.e., numerical density of pretangles stained with mAb tau-1 and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and plaques stained with mAB 3-39, distinguished three groups of subjects with severe, moderate and weak changes. The severely affected group of 5 subject (21%) had an average 54.6/mm2 of neurons and 13.9/mm/ plaques with neurofibrillary changes, whereas the moderately affected group (6 subjects; 25%) showed a significantly lower numerical density of neurons and plaques with neurofibrillary changes (25.7/mm2 and 8.1/mm2, respectively) as compared with the most affected group. Most of the subjects (13; 54%) belong to the third group with only 2.2/mm2 of neurons and 1.4/mm2 plaques with neurofibrillary pathology. Comparison of these three groups of Down syndrome subjects representing high, moderate, and low susceptibility to neurofibrillary changes with the general population suggests that the risk of Alzheimer disease is similar but the onset of pathological changes is earlier in DS.
Ann N Y Acad Sci 777: 255-259 (1996)

ApoE2 allele, Down's syndrome, and dementia

Royston MC; Mann D; Pickering-Brown S; Owen F; Perry R; Ragbavan R; Khin-Nu C; Tyner S; Day K; Crook R; Hardy J; Roberts GW
Department of Psychiatry, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London, United Kingdom

All individuals with Down's syndrome (trisomy 21-DS) develop the pathogenic hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in old age (+40 years). The extent of pathology is variable, but it has been shown that the amount of beta-amyloid pathology is variable and related to age and the degree of dementia. Thus, in DS, growing old is associated with a progressive pathological process which results in cognitive decline. However, neuropsychological studies of older DS subjects have identified a clinical dementia in only a proportion of cases. These contradictory observations could be reconciled if some factor existed which modulated the rate and amount of beta-amyloid pathology. Recent studies demonstrate an association between the apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) allele and the earlier age of onset in both sporadic and familial AD. Increased amounts of beta-amyloid pathology can also be related to the E4 allele. However, at present there are no data documenting the effects of ApoE genotype on the expression or degree of clinical symptoms of the disease. We have examined the ApoE genotype in a cohort of clinically evaluated elderly patients with DS in order to examine the effects of ApoE genotype on the clinical symptoms of dementia. We report here that, despite the presence of an active disease process, the ApoE E2 allele is associated with longevity and preservation of cognitive functioning.
Ann Neurol 3 (17): 278-282 (Mar 1985)

Occurrence of neuropathological changes and dementia of Alzheimer's disease in Down's syndrome

Wisniewski KE, Wisniewski HM, Wen GY

One hundred brains of patients with Down's syndrome (DS) who died in institutions for chronic care were examined for clinicopathological correlation of Alzheimer's disease. Fifty-one were below and 49 were above age 30 years at death. Tissues from the right, prefrontal, and hippocampal cortices were processed for microscopy using H&E and Bodian-periodic acid-Schiff impregnation. Morphometric evaluations of plaques and tangles were carried out. Plaques or plaques and tangles were found in the brains of 56 patients with DS, 7 below age 30 and 49 above that age. A history of dementia was evident in the medical records of 15 of these patients; of these only 2 were below the age of 30. The brains of the patients with DS who also had clinical dementia had more than twenty plaques or plaques and tangles per 1.5 X 10(6) micron 2 of cortex. The numbers of plaques and tangles found in the brains of the patients with DS above the age of 30 greatly increased with age but varied from brain to brain. These observations suggest a correlation among dementia, the density of plaques and tangles, and age. All 100 brains studied showed early arrest of brain growth and brain atrophy, a condition that may have been due to prenatal arrest of neurogenesis mainly in the granular cell layers, prenatal and postnatal arrest of synaptogenesis, and early aging. Plaques and tangles developed twenty to thirty years earlier and dementia was clinically detected at least three times more frequently (20 to 30%) in DS than it is known to occur in the non-DS population.