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1/3. The effects of AbetaPP mutations and APOE polymorphisms on cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

    Analysis of causative mutations and genetic risk factors aid in the understanding of important processes of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) in humans. We identified a mutation at a novel site of the beta-amyloid precursor protein (AbetaPP) gene associated with familial CAA; this mutation causes an aspartate to asparagine substitution at position 23 of the Abeta peptide. Neuropathological analysis of a 68-year-old man with this mutation showed dramatic Abeta deposition in blood vessels, diffiuse parenchymal Abeta deposits, dystrophic neurites and neurofibrillary tangles. The Abeta deposition showed complete co-localization of Abeta40 and Abeta42, compared to the predominant Abeta42 deposition seen in AD. We hypothesize that the loss of an acidic residue at position 23 of Abeta might be important in the process of Abeta aggregation on smooth muscle cells on the cerebrovasculature. We also analyzed how the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene might influence aggregation of Abeta by examining the physical association of apoE domains with Abeta via immunohistochemistry. We found that the lipid-binding domain of apoE was more strongly associated with Abeta than the receptor-binding domain, and that 40% of all Abeta deposits had no apoE bound to them. We suggest that the initial deposition of Abeta occurs in the absence of apoE, and that the process of Abeta deposit growth or stabilization is apoE-dependent. ( info)

2/3. cerebral amyloid angiopathy is a pathogenic lesion in Alzheimer's disease due to a novel presenilin 1 mutation.

    The dense-cored plaques are considered the pathogenic type of amyloid deposition in Alzheimer's disease brains because of their predominant association with dystrophic neurites. Nevertheless, in > 90% of cases of Alzheimer's disease amyloid is also deposited in cerebral blood vessel walls (congophilic amyloid angiopathy; CAA) but its role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis remains enigmatic. Here, we report a family (family GB) in which early-onset Alzheimer's disease was caused by a novel presenilin 1 mutation (L282V). This was unusually severe CAA reminiscent of the Flemish amyloid precursor protein (A692G) mutation we reported previously, which causes Alzheimer's disease and/or cerebral haemorrhages. In family GB, however, the disease presented as typical progressive Alzheimer's disease in the absence of strokes or stroke-like episodes. Similarly, neuroimaging studies and neuropathological examination favoured a degenerative over a vascular dementia. Interestingly, an immunohistochemical study revealed that, similar to causing dense-cored amyloid plaques, CAA also appeared capable of instigating a strong local dystrophic and inflammatory reaction. This was suggested by the observed neuronal loss, the presence of tau- and ubiquitin-positive neurites, micro- and astrogliosis, and complement activation. Together, these data suggest that, like the dense-cored neuritic plaques, CAA might represent a pathogenic lesion that contributes significantly to the progressive neurodegeneration that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. ( info)

3/3. A Western Australian kindred with Dutch cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

    A family from the south of western australia is described with Dutch cerebral amyloid angiopathy (HCHWA-D). The proband died at age 60 from recurrent lobar haemorrhages in the brain, as did his sister and five other family members. The APP 693 mutation at position 22 of the Abetapeptide resulting in a glutamine for glutamic acid was identified in the proband and the affected sister. Pathologically lobar haemorrhages were found with cerebrovascular angiopathy; neuritic plaques were found but no neurofibrilary tangles. There was a leukoencephalopathy on MRI scanning. dementia and cognitive decline has not been observed in this family. This is the first family reported outside of europe and the Northern Hemisphere. The discovery highlights the importance of detecting this rare cause of fatal cerebral haemorrhage as it has implications for gene testing and general medical management. ( info)

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