Necrosome complex detected in granulovacuolar degeneration is associated with neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease



Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by a specific pattern of neuropathological changes, including extracellular amyloid β (Aβ) deposits, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), granulovacuolar degeneration (GVD) representing cytoplasmic vacuolar lesions, synapse dysfunction and neuronal loss. Necroptosis, a programmed form of necrosis characterized by the assembly of the necrosome complex composed of phosphorylated proteins, i.e. receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 and 3 (pRIPK1 and pRIPK3) and mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (pMLKL), has recently been shown to be involved in AD. However, it is not yet clear whether necrosome assembly takes place in brain regions showing AD-related neuronal loss and whether it is associated with AD-related neuropathological changes. Here, we analyzed brains of AD, pathologically defined preclinical AD (p-preAD) and non-AD control cases to determine the neuropathological characteristics and distribution pattern of the necrosome components. We demonstrated that all three activated necrosome components can be detected in GVD lesions (GVDn+, i.e. GVD with activated necrosome) in neurons, that they colocalize with classical GVD markers, such as pTDP-43 and CK1δ, and similarly to these markers detect GVD lesions. GVDn + neurons inversely correlated with neuronal density in the early affected CA1 region of the hippocampus and in the late affected frontal cortex layer III. Additionally, AD-related GVD lesions were associated with AD-defining parameters, showing the strongest correlation and partial colocalization with NFT pathology. Therefore, we conclude that the presence of the necrosome in GVD plays a role in AD, possibly by representing an AD-specific form of necroptosis-related neuron death. Hence, necroptosis-related neuron loss could be an interesting therapeutic target for treating AD.


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