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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2005 Feb;64(2):156-62.

Alpha-synuclein lesions in normal aging, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease: evidence from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA).

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Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-2196, USA.


Alpha-synuclein (alpha-synuclein) lesions are characteristic of idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) and other alpha-synucleinopathies. To study the frequency of alpha-synuclein lesions in normal aging and how frequently they coexist with lesions of Alzheimer disease (AD), we examined the autopsy brains from normal and demented subjects in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) (n = 117). We found that the overall frequency of alpha-synuclein lesions was 25%, with 100% in 7 cases of PD, 31.5% in 56 cases with AD lesions, and 8.3% among 36 older control brains. Among brains with AD lesions, the frequency of alpha-synuclein pathology was higher in those with higher scores for neuritic plaques, but not in those with higher scores for neurofibrillary tangles. Our observations indicate that alpha-synuclein lesions are uncommon in aged control subjects. Finally, the coexistence of Abeta amyloid and alpha-synuclein pathology in AD brains suggests that the pathogenic mechanism/s leading to the accumulation of Abeta and alpha-synuclein may be similar.

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