The association of Lewy bodies with limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy neuropathologic changes and their role in cognition and Alzheimer's dementia in older persons

Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Sep 25;9(1):156. doi: 10.1186/s40478-021-01260-0.


Lewy bodies (LBs) and limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy neuropathologic change (LATE-NC) are common in older persons and associated with cognitive impairment. However, little is known about the relationship between LBs and LATE-NC and their combined roles in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dementia in community-dwelling participants. The study included 1670 community-based participants (mean age-at-death, 89.5 years (SD = 6.65); 69% females) who underwent annual assessments of cognition to create summary measures of global cognition and cognitive domains and evaluation for Alzheimer's dementia. Systematic neuropathologic evaluations were performed to assess LBs, LATE-NC, and Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. We excluded cases with pathologically confirmed frontotemporal lobar degeneration in this study. Logistic and linear regression analyses were used, adjusted for demographics and AD pathology. LBs were present in 428 (25.6%) decedents (29 nigra-predominant, 165 limbic-type, and 234 neocortical-type) while 865 (51.7%) decedents exhibited LATE-NC (307 stage 1, 167 stage 2, and 391 stage 3). LBs combined with LATE-NC were common (15% of all participants) and in those with Alzheimer's dementia (25%). Neocortical-type, but not nigral-predominant or limbic-type LBs increased the odds of stage 2/3 LATE-NC (odds ratio = 1.70; 95% confidence interval = 1.26-2.30). The association between neocortical-type LBs and stage 2/3 LATE-NC was stronger in those under 90 years of age and in women. In analyses of cognition and Alzheimer's dementia, LATE-NC and neocortical-type LBs, separately, were related to lower global cognition, five specific cognitive domains, and an increased odds of Alzheimer's dementia, above and beyond the AD pathology. Limbic-type LBs were related to lower global cognition, and the domains of episodic, working, and semantic memory, and increased odds of Alzheimer's dementia. Furthermore, there was no interaction between limbic/neocortical-type LBs and LATE-NC on cognitive function, cognitive domains, or Alzheimer's dementia. These findings suggest that neocortical-type LBs are associated with LATE-NC, specifically in the younger old and in women. Limbic/neocortical-type LBs and LATE-NC have separate and additive effects on cognitive function and odds of Alzheimer's dementia.

Keywords: Aging; Alzheimer’s dementia; Cognition; Lewy bodies; Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology*
  • Male
  • TDP-43 Proteinopathies / complications
  • TDP-43 Proteinopathies / pathology*