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Acta Neuropathol. 2011 Dec;122(6):691-702. doi: 10.1007/s00401-011-0911-2. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

p62 positive, TDP-43 negative, neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions in the cerebellum and hippocampus define the pathology of C9orf72-linked FTLD and MND/ALS.

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Department of Clinical Neuropathology, Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK.


Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) containing phosphorylated TDP-43 (p-TDP-43) are the pathological hallmarks of motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS) and FTLD-TDP. The vast majority of NCIs in the brain and spinal cord also label for ubiquitin and p62, however, we have previously reported a subset of TDP-43 proteinopathy patients who have unusual and abundant p62 positive, TDP-43 negative inclusions in the cerebellum and hippocampus. Here we sought to determine whether these cases carry the hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72. Repeat primer PCR was performed in 36 MND/ALS, FTLD-MND/ALS and FTLD-TDP cases and four controls. Fourteen individuals with the repeat expansion were detected. In all the 14 expansion mutation cases there were abundant globular and star-shaped p62 positive NCIs in the pyramidal cell layer of the hippocampus, the vast majority of which were p-TDP-43 negative. p62 positive NCIs were also abundant in the cerebellar granular and molecular layers in all cases and in Purkinje cells in 12/14 cases but they were only positive for p-TDP-43 in the granular layer of one case. Abundant p62 positive, p-TDP-43 negative neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NIIs) were seen in 12/14 cases in the pyramidal cell layer of the hippocampus and in 6/14 cases in the cerebellar granular layer. This unusual combination of inclusions appears pathognomonic for C9orf72 repeat expansion positive MND/ALS and FTLD-TDP which we believe form a pathologically distinct subset of TDP-43 proteinopathies. Our results suggest that proteins other than TDP-43 are binding p62 and aggregating in response to the mutation which may play a mechanistic role in neurodegeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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