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Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Mar;27(3):387-93.

Differences in regional brain atrophy in genetic forms of Alzheimer's disease.

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Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and the University of New South Wales, Barker Street, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia.


Multiple degenerative hallmarks characterize Alzheimer's disease: insoluble protein deposition, neuronal loss and cortical atrophy. Atrophy begins in the medial temporal lobe and becomes global by end stage. In a small proportion of cases, these tissue changes are caused by mutations in three known genes. These cases are affected earlier in life and have more abundant protein deposition, which may indicate greater tissue atrophy and degeneration. This issue remains unresolved. Grey matter atrophy in different cortical regions was determined in genetic cases of Alzheimer's disease (N = 13) and compared to sporadic cases (N = 13) and non-diseased controls (N = 23). Genetic mutations were found to influence the degree and regional pattern of atrophy. The majority of cases had greater medial temporal atrophy than sporadic disease, suggesting that abnormalities affecting Abeta metabolism selectively increase hippocampal degeneration. Cases with mutations in presenilin-1 demonstrated additional increased frontotemporal atrophy. This effect may be due to the influence of presenilin-1 on tau phosphorylation and metabolism. These differences may explain the earlier onset ages in these different forms of Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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