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Tau pathology-dependent remodelling of cerebral arteries precedes Alzheimer’s disease-related microvascular cerebral amyloid angiopathy


Merlini, Mario; Wanner, Debora; Nitsch, Roger M (2016). Tau pathology-dependent remodelling of cerebral arteries precedes Alzheimer’s disease-related microvascular cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Acta Neuropathologica, 131(5):737-752.

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterised by pathologic cerebrovascular remodelling. Whether this occurs already before disease onset, as may be indicated by early Braak tau-related cerebral hypoperfusion and blood–brain barrier (BBB) impairment found in previous studies, remains unknown. Therefore, we systematically quantified Braak tau stage- and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)-dependent alterations in the alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), collagen, and elastin content of leptomeningeal arterioles, small arteries, and medium-sized arteries surrounding the gyrus frontalis medialis (GFM) and hippocampus (HIPP), including the sulci, of 17 clinically and pathologically diagnosed AD subjects (Braak stage IV–VI) and 28 non-demented control subjects (Braak stage I–IV). GFM and HIPP paraffin sections were stained for general collagen and elastin with the Verhoeff–van Gieson stain; α-SMA and CAA/amyloid β (Aβ) were detected using immunohistochemistry. Significant arterial elastin degradation was observed from Braak stage III onward and correlated with Braak tau pathology (ρ = 0.909, 95 % CI 0.370 to 0.990, p < 0.05). This was accompanied by an increase in neutrophil elastase expression by α-SMA-positive cells in the vessel wall. Small and medium-sized arteries exhibited significant CAA-independent α-SMA loss starting between Braak stage I and II–III, along with accumulation of phosphorylated paired helical filament (PHF) tau in the perivascular space of intraparenchymal vessels. α-SMA remained at the decreased level throughout the later Braak stages. In contrast, arterioles exhibited significant α-SMA loss only at Braak stage V and VI/in AD subjects, which was CAA-dependent/correlated with CAA burden (ρ = −0.422, 95 % CI −0.557 to −0.265, p < 0.0001). Collagen content was only significantly changed in small arteries. Our data indicate that vessel wall remodelling of leptomeningeal arteries is an early-onset, Braak tau pathology-dependent process unrelated to CAA and AD, which potentially may contribute to downstream CAA-dependent microvascular pathology in AD.

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterised by pathologic cerebrovascular remodelling. Whether this occurs already before disease onset, as may be indicated by early Braak tau-related cerebral hypoperfusion and blood–brain barrier (BBB) impairment found in previous studies, remains unknown. Therefore, we systematically quantified Braak tau stage- and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA)-dependent alterations in the alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), collagen, and elastin content of leptomeningeal arterioles, small arteries, and medium-sized arteries surrounding the gyrus frontalis medialis (GFM) and hippocampus (HIPP), including the sulci, of 17 clinically and pathologically diagnosed AD subjects (Braak stage IV–VI) and 28 non-demented control subjects (Braak stage I–IV). GFM and HIPP paraffin sections were stained for general collagen and elastin with the Verhoeff–van Gieson stain; α-SMA and CAA/amyloid β (Aβ) were detected using immunohistochemistry. Significant arterial elastin degradation was observed from Braak stage III onward and correlated with Braak tau pathology (ρ = 0.909, 95 % CI 0.370 to 0.990, p < 0.05). This was accompanied by an increase in neutrophil elastase expression by α-SMA-positive cells in the vessel wall. Small and medium-sized arteries exhibited significant CAA-independent α-SMA loss starting between Braak stage I and II–III, along with accumulation of phosphorylated paired helical filament (PHF) tau in the perivascular space of intraparenchymal vessels. α-SMA remained at the decreased level throughout the later Braak stages. In contrast, arterioles exhibited significant α-SMA loss only at Braak stage V and VI/in AD subjects, which was CAA-dependent/correlated with CAA burden (ρ = −0.422, 95 % CI −0.557 to −0.265, p < 0.0001). Collagen content was only significantly changed in small arteries. Our data indicate that vessel wall remodelling of leptomeningeal arteries is an early-onset, Braak tau pathology-dependent process unrelated to CAA and AD, which potentially may contribute to downstream CAA-dependent microvascular pathology in AD.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cerebrovascular pathology; Collagen; Hyperphosphorylated tau; Internal elastic lamina; Neutrophil elastase; Vascular smooth muscle
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:24 May 2016 17:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 19:32
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0001-6322
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-016-1560-2
PubMed ID:26988843

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