Acta Neuropathologica

, 118:587

The morbid anatomy of dementia in Parkinson’s disease

Review

Abstract

Dementia in Parkinson’s disease (PD/PDD) is a common complication with a prevalence of up to 50%, but the specific changes underlying the cognitive decline remain undefined. Neuronal degeneration resulting in the dysfunction of multiple subcortical neurochemical projection systems has been described along with Lewy body-type pathology in cortical and limbic regions. Advanced alpha-synuclein (αSyn) pathology is not necessarily sufficient for producing dementia and concomitant Alzheimer’s disease (AD) change has also been proposed as a possible substrate of PDD. A lack of consensus in the extant literature likely stems from clinical heterogeneity and variable reliability in clinical characterisation as well as other historical and methodological issues. The concurrent presence of abnormally deposited αSyn, amyloid-β and tau proteins in the PDD brain and the interaction of these molecules in a linked pathological cascade of AD and PD-related mechanisms may prove important in determining the underlying pathological process for the development of dementia in PD and this concept of combined pathologies awaits further investigation.

Keywords

Parkinson’s disease Alpha-synuclein Lewy body Neuropathology Dementia Cognitive dysfunction Beta-amyloid Tau 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michail E. Kalaitzakis
    • 1
  • Ronald K. B. Pearce
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropathology Unit, Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Department of Clinical NeuroscienceImperial College Healthcare NHS TrustLondonUK

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