Introduction: The disease course of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) can be rapidly progressive, clinically resembling Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease (CJD). To better understand factors contributing to this rapidly progressive disease course, we describe load and distribution of neuropathology, and the presence of possible disease-associated genetic defects in a post-mortem series of DLB cases clinically suspected of CJD. Methods: We included pathologically confirmed DLB cases with a disease duration of 3.5 years or less from the Dutch Surveillance Center for Prion Diseases, collected between 1998 and 2014. Lewy body disease (LBD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related pathology were staged and semi-quantitatively scored in selected brain regions. Whole exome sequencing analysis of known disease-associated genes, copy number analysis, APOE ε genotyping and C9orf72 repeat expansion analysis were performed to identify defects in genes with a well-established involvement in Parkinson's disease or AD. Results: Diffuse LBD was present in nine cases, transitional LBD in six cases and brainstem-predominant LBD in one case. Neocortical alpha-synuclein load was significantly higher in cases with intermediate-to-high than in cases with low-to-none AD-related pathology (p = 0.007). We found two GBA variants (p.D140H and p.E326K) in one patient and two heterozygous rare variants of unknown significance in SORL1 in two patients. Conclusion: A high load of neocortical alpha-synuclein pathology was present in most, but not all DLB cases. Additional burden from presence of concomitant pathologies, synergistic effects and specific genetic defects in the known disease-associated genes may have contributed to the rapid disease progression.

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Parkinsonism & Related Disorders
Department of Neurology

Geut, H., Vergouw, L., Galis, Y., Ingrassia, A., de Jong, F., Quadri, M., … van de Berg, W.D.J. (2019). Neuropathological and genetic characteristics of a post-mortem series of cases with dementia with Lewy bodies clinically suspected of Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 63, 162–168. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2019.02.011