A novel mutation (G217D) in the Presenilin 1 gene (PSEN1) in a Japanese family: Presenile dementia and parkinsonism are associated with cotton wool plaques in the cortex and striatum

Masaki Takao, Bernardino Ghetti, Isao Hayakawa, Eiji Ikeda, Yasuo Fukuuchi, Leticia Miravalle, Pedro Piccardo, Jill R. Murell, Bradley S. Glazier, Atsuo Koto

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We report a family of Japanese origin that has five individuals from two generations affected by an illness characterized by dementia, a stooped posture and an antiflexion gait with an onset in the fourth or fifth decade of life. Two siblings had a clinical phenotype characterized by dementia and Parkinsonism with stooped posture, rigidity and bradykinesia. Neuropathological alterations in both patients included numerous 'cotton wool' plaques (CWPs), senile plaques, severe amyloid angiopathy, neuro-fibrillary tangles, neuronal rarefaction and gliosis. CWPs were present throughout the cerebral cortex as well as in the caudate nucleus, putamen, claustrum, thalamus, substantia innominata and colliculi. These plaques contained a small quantity of argyrophilic and tau-immunopositive neurites as well as glial fibrillary acidic protein-immunopositive elements. They were mildly fluorescent with thioflavin S and immunopositive using monoclonal antibodies recognizing amyloid β (Aβ) ending at residue 42. The main constituents of CWPs were neuropil elements and extracellular amyloid fibrils. These neuropil elements were small dendrites including spines, axon terminals containing synaptic vesicles and astrocytic processes. Dendrites occasionally contained bundles of paired helical filaments. Dendrites and axons often had an irregular outline and appeared as degenerating osmiophilic processes containing electron-dense mitochondria. Genetic analysis of the proband's affected sibling revealed a novel nucleotide substitution (G to A) in exon 8 of the Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) gene. This nucleotide change results in a glycine to aspartic acid substitution at residue 217 of the PSEN1 protein. This study provides further evidence of clinical and pathological heterogeneity in dementing illnesses associated with PSEN1 mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002



  • Aβ amyloid
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Cotton wool plaque
  • Parkinsonism
  • Presenilin 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)

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