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Partial loss of parvalbumin-containing hippocampal interneurons in dementia with Lewy bodies

Lookup NU author(s): Mary Johnson, Dr Fiona LeBeau, Emeritus Professor Elaine Perry


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Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia. Among many other neuropathological changes in DLB, brain region-specific cellular deficits have been reported. They include decreases in motor neuron and pyramidal cell densities, while neocortical parvalbumin (parv)-containing neurons are thought to be free of Lewy bodies and spared in DLB. However, elevated parv levels are found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients suffering from dementia with Lewy bodies. We performed an immunohistochemical analysis of hippocampal parv-immunoreactive neurons in well-characterised DLB cases and from controls using a specific antibody against the calcium binding protein. In addition, an analysis of the regional and cellular distribution of alpha-synuclein was carried out. Subfield and laminar distribution of parv-immunoreactive (ir) neurons on the hippocampus in subjects with DLB and controls were present exclusively as non-granule cells of the dentate gyrus (DG)/hilus and non-pyramidal cells of CA1, CA2, CA3 and CA4 areas of the hippocampus. The distribution patterns did not differ qualitatively between DLB and controls. Quantitative estimation of parv-ir neuron density revealed significant decreases in the dentate (DG)/hilus region as well as in the CA1 subfield. Double immunolabelling experiments showed that only 2% of parv expressing interneurons were laden with alpha-synuclein immunoreactive material. No significant changes were found for the total neuron densities in DLB cases. Our results show a partial loss of parv-expressing hippocampal interneurons in DLB, which might be the result of long-lasting calcium overload in combination with a proposed impaired mitochondrial function. It remains to be elucidated if the numerical decrease of this particular subset of hippocampal interneurons has consequences for the gamma (20-80 Hz) frequency activity in DLB patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bernstein HG, Johnson M, Perry RH, LeBeau FEN, Dobrowolny H, Bogerts B, Perry EK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropathology

Year: 2011

Volume: 31

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-10

Print publication date: 05/05/2010

ISSN (print): 0919-6544

ISSN (electronic): 1440-1789

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia


DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2010.01117.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0400074Medical Research Council
G0502157Medical Research Council
G0900652Medical Research Council