TDP-43 is present in a high proportion of aged brains that do not meet criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). We determined whether there are distinct TDP-43 types in non-FTLD brains. From a cohort of 553 brains (Braak neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) stage 0–VI), excluding cases meeting criteria for FTLD, we identified those that had screened positive for TDP-43. We reviewed 14 different brain regions in these TDP-43 positive cases and classified them into those with “typical” TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (TDP type-α), and those in which TDP-43 immunoreactivity was adjacent to/associated with NFTs in the same neuron (TDP type-β). We compared pathological, genetic (APOE4, TMEM106B and GRN variants), neuroimaging and clinical data between types, as well as compared neuroimaging between types and a group of TDP-43 negative cases (n = 309). Two-hundred forty-one cases were classified as TDP type-α (n = 131, 54%) or TDP type-β (n = 110, 46%). Type-α cases were older than type-β at death (median 89 years vs. 87 years; p = 0.02). Hippocampal sclerosis was present in 78 (60%) type-α cases and 16 (15%) type-β cases (p < 0.001). Type-α cases showed a pattern of widespread TDP-43 deposition commonly extending into temporal, frontal and brainstem regions (84% TDP-43 stage 4–6) while in type-β cases deposition was predominantly limbic, located in amygdala, entorhinal cortex and subiculum of the hippocampus (84% TDP-43 stages 1–3) (p < 0.001). There was a difference in the frequency of TMEM106B protective (GG) and risk (CC) haplotypes (SNP rs3173615 encoding p.T185S) in type-α cases compared to type-β cases (GG/CG/CC: 8%/42%/50% vs. 24%/49%/27%; p = 0.01). Type-α cases had smaller amygdala (− 10.6% [− 17.6%, − 3.5%]; p = 0.003) and hippocampal (− 14.4% [− 21.6%, − 7.3%]; p < 0.001) volumes on MRI at death compared to type-β cases, although both types had smaller amygdala and hippocampal volumes compared to TDP-43 negative cases (− 7.77%, − 21.6%; p < 0.001). These findings demonstrate that there is distinct heterogeneity of TDP-43 deposition in non-FTLD brains.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
- TDP-43 type
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience