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      Primary age-related tauopathy (PART): a common pathology associated with human aging.

      Acta Neuropathologica

      Aging, pathology, Brain, Diagnosis, Differential, Humans, Plaque, Amyloid, Tauopathies, classification, diagnosis, Terminology as Topic

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          Abstract

          We recommend a new term, "primary age-related tauopathy" (PART), to describe a pathology that is commonly observed in the brains of aged individuals. Many autopsy studies have reported brains with neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) that are indistinguishable from those of Alzheimer's disease (AD), in the absence of amyloid (Aβ) plaques. For these "NFT+/Aβ-" brains, for which formal criteria for AD neuropathologic changes are not met, the NFTs are mostly restricted to structures in the medial temporal lobe, basal forebrain, brainstem, and olfactory areas (bulb and cortex). Symptoms in persons with PART usually range from normal to amnestic cognitive changes, with only a minority exhibiting profound impairment. Because cognitive impairment is often mild, existing clinicopathologic designations, such as "tangle-only dementia" and "tangle-predominant senile dementia", are imprecise and not appropriate for most subjects. PART is almost universally detectable at autopsy among elderly individuals, yet this pathological process cannot be specifically identified pre-mortem at the present time. Improved biomarkers and tau imaging may enable diagnosis of PART in clinical settings in the future. Indeed, recent studies have identified a common biomarker profile consisting of temporal lobe atrophy and tauopathy without evidence of Aβ accumulation. For both researchers and clinicians, a revised nomenclature will raise awareness of this extremely common pathologic change while providing a conceptual foundation for future studies. Prior reports that have elucidated features of the pathologic entity we refer to as PART are discussed, and working neuropathological diagnostic criteria are proposed.

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          Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in athletes: progressive tauopathy after repetitive head injury.

          Since the 1920s, it has been known that the repetitive brain trauma associated with boxing may produce a progressive neurological deterioration, originally termed dementia pugilistica, and more recently, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). We review 48 cases of neuropathologically verified CTE recorded in the literature and document the detailed findings of CTE in 3 profession althletes, 1 football player and 2 boxers. Clinically, CTE is associated with memory disturbances, behavioral and personality changes, parkinsonism, and speech and gait abnormalities. Neuropathologically, CTE is characterized by atrophy of the cerebral hemispheres, medial temporal lobe, thalamus, mammillary bodies, and brainstem, with ventricular dilatation and a fenestrated cavum septum pellucidum. Microscopically, there are extensive tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary tangles, astrocytic tangles, and spindle-shaped and threadlike neurites throughout the brain. The neurofibrillary degeneration of CTE is distinguished from other tauopathies by preferential involvement of the superficial cortical layers, irregular patchy distribution in the frontal and temporal cortices, propensity for sulcal depths, prominent perivascular, periventricular, and subpial distribution, and marked accumulation of tau-immunoreactive astrocytes. Deposition of beta-amyloid, most commonly as diffuse plaques, occurs in fewer than half the cases. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a neuropathologically distinct slowly progressive tauopathy with a clear environmental etiology.
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            Neurofibrillary tangles, amyloid, and memory in aging and mild cognitive impairment.

            Large numbers of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and amyloid plaques are diagnostic markers for Alzheimer disease (AD), but lesser numbers of these lesions are also seen in nondemented elderly individuals. Much of the existing literature suggests that the NFTs of AD have a closer correlation with cognitive function than do amyloid plaques. Whether a similar relationship exists in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that frequently reflects a preclinical stage of AD, remains unknown. To determine the distribution patterns of beta-amyloid plaques and NFTs and the association of these lesions with memory performance in nondemented individuals. We investigated regional distributions and neuropsychological correlates of NFTs and amyloid plaques in cognitively normal elderly persons and subjects with MCI who received neuropsychological testing before death. Subjects Eight nondemented subjects who volunteered to receive annual neuropsychological testing and agreed to brain donation were studied. Five subjects showed no cognitive impairment, and 3 were diagnosed with MCI. Distribution of NFTs followed a rigorous and hierarchical pattern, but distribution of amyloid plaques varied among individuals. Subjects with MCI displayed higher NFT densities than did nonimpaired subjects. In addition, NFT density in the temporal lobe correlated with memory scores, whereas density of amyloid plaques did not. Neurofibrillary tangles are more numerous in medial temporal lobe regions associated with memory function and show a relationship to performance on memory tests in nondemented individuals. These results suggest that NFTs may constitute a pathological substrate for memory loss not only in AD but also in normal aging and MCI.
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              Neuropathologic features of amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

              The neuropathologic substrate of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is not known. To determine the neuropathologic features of patients who died while their clinical classification was aMCI. Cohort study. Community based. Sixty-six individuals, including 15 who had memory impairment beyond that allowed for aging but who were not demented, were studied along with 28 clinically healthy individuals and 23 patients with probable Alzheimer disease (AD) for comparison. Standard neuropathologic techniques and classification according to Khachaturian, Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer Disease, and National Institute on Aging-Reagan criteria were used to analyze autopsy tissue from 15 individuals who died while their clinical diagnosis was aMCI. For comparison, autopsy data on age-matched groups of clinically healthy individuals and patients with probable AD were analyzed. Most patients with aMCI did not meet the neuropathologic criteria for AD, but their pathologic findings suggest a transitional state of evolving AD. All the patients with aMCI had pathologic findings involving medial temporal lobe structures, likely accounting for their memory impairment. In addition, there were many concomitant pathologic abnormalities, including argyrophilic grain disease, hippocampal sclerosis, and vascular lesions. The neuropathologic features of aMCI matched the clinical features and seemed to be intermediate between the neurofibrillary changes of aging and the pathologic features of very early AD.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                25348064
                4257842
                10.1007/s00401-014-1349-0

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