Hippocampal sclerosis in advanced age: Clinical and pathological features

Peter T. Nelson, Frederick A. Schmitt, Yushun Lin, Erin L. Abner, Gregory A. Jicha, Ela Patel, Paula C. Thomason, Janna H. Neltner, Charles D. Smith, Karen S. Santacruz, Joshua A. Sonnen, Leonard W. Poon, Marla Gearing, Robert C. Green, John L. Woodard, Linda J. Van Eldik, Richard J. Kryscio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hippocampal sclerosis is a relatively common neuropathological finding (∼10 of individuals over the age of 85 years) characterized by cell loss and gliosis in the hippocampus that is not explained by Alzheimer's disease. Hippocampal sclerosis pathology can be associated with different underlying causes, and we refer to hippocampal sclerosis in the aged brain as hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. Much remains unknown about hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. We combined three different large autopsy cohorts: University of Kentucky Alzheimer's Disease Centre, the Nun Study and the Georgia Centenarian Study to obtain a pool of 1110 patients, all of whom were evaluated neuropathologically at the University of Kentucky. We focused on the subset of cases with neuropathology-confirmed hippocampal sclerosis (n = 106). For individuals aged ≥95 years at death (n = 179 in our sample), each year of life beyond the age of 95 years correlated with increased prevalence of hippocampal sclerosis pathology and decreased prevalence of 'definite' Alzheimer's disease pathology. Aberrant TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was seen in 89.9% of hippocampal sclerosis positive patients compared with 9.7% of hippocampal sclerosis negative patients. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry can be used to demonstrate that the disease is usually bilateral even when hippocampal sclerosis pathology is not obvious by haematoxylin and eosin stains. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was negative on brain sections from younger individuals (n = 10) after hippocampectomy due to seizures, who had pathologically confirmed hippocampal sclerosis. There was no association between cases with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing and apolipoprotein E genotype. Age of death and clinical features of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing (with or without aberrant TAR DNA protein 43) were distinct from previously published cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration TAR DNA protein 43. To help sharpen our ability to discriminate patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing clinically, the longitudinal cognitive profile of 43 patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing was compared with the profiles of 75 controls matched for age, gender, education level and apolipoprotein E genotype. These individuals were followed from intake assessment, with 8.2 (average) longitudinal cognitive assessments. A neuropsychological profile with relatively high-verbal fluency but low word list recall distinguished the hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing group at intake (P < 0.015) and also 5.5-6.5 years before death (P < 0.005). This may provide a first step in clinical differentiation of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing versus pure Alzheimer's disease in their earliest stages. In summary, in the largest series of autopsy-verified patients with hippocampal sclerosis to date, we characterized the clinical and pathological features associated with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1518
Number of pages13
JournalBrain
Volume134
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Institutes of Health (grants R01 NS061933, R01 AG19241, K08 NS050110, P01 AG17553, P30 AG028383, K24 AG027841 and U01 AG016976).

Keywords

  • FTLD
  • PGRN
  • biomarkers
  • cerebrovascular
  • epilepsy
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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