Brain structure & function

Interneurons, tau and amyloid-β in the piriform cortex in Alzheimer's disease.

PMID 24748561


Impaired olfaction has been described as an early symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Neuroanatomical changes underlying this deficit in the olfactory system are largely unknown. Interestingly, neuropathology begins in the transentorhinal cortex and extends to the neighboring limbic system and basal telencephalic structures that mediate olfactory processing, including the anterior olfactory nucleus and olfactory bulb. The human piriform cortex has been described as a crucial area in odor quality coding; disruption of this region mediates early olfactory deficits in Alzheimer's disease. Most neuropathological investigations have focused on the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, whereas the piriform cortex has largely been neglected. This work aims to characterize the expression of the neuropathological amyloid-β peptide, tau protein and interneuron population markers (calretinin, parvalbumin and somatostatin) in the piriform cortex of ten Alzheimer-diagnosed (80.4 ± 8.3 years old) and five control (69.6 ± 11.1) cases. Here, we examined the distribution of different interneuronal markers as well as co-localization of interneurons and pathological markers. Results indicated preferential vulnerability of somatostatin- (p = 0.0001 < α = 0.05) and calretinin-positive (p = 0.013 < α = 0.05) cells that colocalized with amyloid-β peptide, while the prevalence of parvalbumin-positive cells was increased (p = 0.045 < α = 0.05) in the Alzheimer's cases. These data may help to reveal the neural basis of olfactory deficits linked to Alzheimer's disease as well as to characterize neuronal populations preferentially vulnerable to neuropathology in regions critically involved in early stages of the disease.