Familial Danish dementia: A novel form of cerebral amyloidosis associated with deposition of both amyloid-Dan and amyloid-Beta

Janice L. Holton, Tammaryn Lashley, Jorge Ghiso, Hans Braendgaard, Ruben Vidal, Christopher J. Guerin, Graham Gibb, Diane P. Hanger, Agueda Rostagno, Brian H. Anderton, Catherine Strand, Hilary Ayling, Gordon Plant, Blas Frangione, Marie Bojsen-Møller, Tamas Revesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations


Familial Danish dementia (FDD) is pathologically characterized by widespread cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), parenchymal protein deposits, and neurofibrillary degeneration. FDD is associated with a mutation of the BR12 gene located on chromosome 13. In FDD there is a decamer duplication, which abolishes the normal stop codon, resulting in an extended precursor protein and the release of an amyloidogenic fragment, ADan. The aim of this study was to describe the major neuropathological changes in FDD and to assess the distribution of ADan lesions, neurofibrillary pathology, glial, and microglial response using conventional techniques, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, and immunoelectron microscopy. We showed that ADan is widely distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) in the leptomeninges, blood vessels, and parenchyma. A predominance of parenchymal pre-amyloid (non-fibrillary) lesions was found. Aβ was also present in a proportion of both vascular and parenchymal lesions. There was severe neurofibrillary pathology, and tau immunoblotting revealed a triplet electrophoretic migration pattern comparable with PHF-tau. FDD is a novel form of CNS amyloidosis with extensive neurofibrillary degeneration occurring with parenchymal, predominantly pre-amyloid rather than amyloid, deposition. These findings support the notion that parenchymal amyloid fibril formation is not a prerequisite for the development of neurofibrillary tangles. The significance of concurrent ADan and Aβ deposition in FDD is under further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-267
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002



  • ADan
  • Amyloid
  • BRI2 gene
  • Danish dementia
  • Neurofibrillary degeneration
  • Pre-amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Holton, J. L., Lashley, T., Ghiso, J., Braendgaard, H., Vidal, R., Guerin, C. J., Gibb, G., Hanger, D. P., Rostagno, A., Anderton, B. H., Strand, C., Ayling, H., Plant, G., Frangione, B., Bojsen-Møller, M., & Revesz, T. (2002). Familial Danish dementia: A novel form of cerebral amyloidosis associated with deposition of both amyloid-Dan and amyloid-Beta. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 61(3), 254-267. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnen/61.3.254