Pontine Arteriolosclerosis and Locus Coeruleus Oxidative Stress Differentiate Resilience from Mild Cognitive Impairment in a Clinical Pathologic Cohort

Sarah C. Kelly, Peter T. Nelson, Scott E. Counts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Locus coeruleus (LC) neurodegeneration is associated with cognitive deterioration during the transition from normal cognition to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD). However, the extent to which LC degenerative processes differentiate cognitively normal, "resilient" subjects bearing a high AD pathological burden from those with MCI or AD remains unclear. We approached this problem by quantifying the number of LC neurons and the percentage of LC neurons bearing AT8 tau pathology, TDP- 43 pathology, or a marker for DNA/RNA oxidative damage, in wellcharacterized subjects diagnosed as normal cognition-low AD pathology (NC-LP), NC-high AD pathology (NC-HP), MCI, or mild/ moderate AD. In addition, the severity of pontine arteriolosclerosis in each subject was compared across the groups. There was a trend for a step-wise _20% loss of LC neuron number between the NCLP, NC-HP and MCI subjects despite a successive, significant _80%-100% increase in tau pathology between these groups. In contrast, increasing pontine arteriolosclerosis severity scores and LC oxidative stress burden significantly separated the NC-LP/HP and MCI/AD groups via comparative, correlation, and regression analysis. Pontine perfusion, as well as LC neuronal metabolic and redox function, may impact noradrenergic LC modulation of cognition during the preclinical and prodromal stages of AD. VC 2021 American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Arteriolosclerosis
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pons
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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