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A neuropathological subset of Alzheimer's disease with concomitant Lewy body disease and spongiform change

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Summary

The neuropathological heterogeneity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is increasingly recognized. Diffuse Lewy body disease, for example, most frequently occurs in cases fulfilling histopathological criteria for AD, and these patients usually present with dementia rather than parkinsonism. We report five cases of concomitant AD and diffuse Lewy body disease with still another coexistent neuropathological feature: localized and stereotyped spongiform change in the neuropil. This spongiform change was most striking in the superior and inferior temporal, entorhinal, and insular cortex and the amygdala and was virtually indistinguishable from that seen in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Electron microscopic study on one case revealed membrane-containing vacuoles in close association with neuritic plaques and plaired helical filament-filled processes. Immunocytochemistry using antibodies to prion proteins (PrPsc or PrP27–30) failed to label plaque or vascular amyloid in the five cases. Four primates inoculated with brain tissue from one case have not evidenced neurological disease in the 3 years since the transmission experiment. We conclude that these cases represent a neuropathological subset of AD with relatively widespread Lewy bodies and a localized spongiform change, predominantly involving the medial temporal region. Despite the light and electron microscopic commonality with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, there is no clear evidence that these cases represent a form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.

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Supported by Veterans Administration Merit Award 5747004 (SM). The contributions made to this study by the UCSD group (LH, EM, and RDT) were supported by National Institutes of Health grants AGO5131 and AGO8201 and the McKnight Foundation

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Hansen, L.A., Masliah, E., Terry, R.D. et al. A neuropathological subset of Alzheimer's disease with concomitant Lewy body disease and spongiform change. Acta Neuropathol 78, 194–201 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00688209

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00688209

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