Clinical correlates of pathology in the claustrum in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies

Neurosci Lett. 2009 Sep 11;461(1):12-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.05.083. Epub 2009 Jun 10.


Dementia and visual hallucinations are common complications of Parkinson's disease (PD), yet their patho-anatomical bases are poorly defined. We studied alpha-synuclein (alphaSyn), tau and amyloid-beta (Abeta) pathology in the claustrum of 20 PD cases without dementia, 12 PD cases with dementia (PDD) and 7 cases with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). alphaSyn positivity was observed in 75% of PD cases without dementia and in 100% of PDD and DLB cases. Abeta was observed in the claustrum in 25% of PD, 58% of PDD and 100% of DLB cases. Tau was negligible in all cases restricting further analysis. Compared to PD cases without dementia, PDD cases demonstrated a significantly greater alphaSyn burden in the claustrum (p=0.0003). In addition, DLB cases showed a significantly increased alphaSyn deposition when compared to PDD (p=0.02) and PD without dementia (p=0.0002). A similar hierarchy, PD<PDD<DLB was seen in terms of Abeta burden in the claustrum. Comparison of alphaSyn and Abeta burden in those cases with and without visual hallucinations did not reveal any significant associations (p=0.13 and 0.1, respectively). We demonstrate that pathology in the claustrum, a region of largely obscure physiological function, strongly relates to the presence of dementia in Parkinson's disease and DLB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology*
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Hallucinations / metabolism
  • Hallucinations / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lewy Body Disease / etiology
  • Lewy Body Disease / metabolism
  • Lewy Body Disease / pathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • tau Proteins