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Digital Histological Study of Neocortical Grey and White Matter Tau Burden Across Tauopathies.

Coughlin DG, Hiniker A, Peterson C, Kim Y, Arezoumandan S, Giannini L, Pizzo D, Weintraub D, Siderowf A, Litvan I, Rissman RA, Galasko D, Hansen L, Trojanowski JQ, Lee E, Grossman M, Irwin D. Digital Histological Study of Neocortical Grey and White Matter Tau Burden Across Tauopathies. Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology. 2022 Nov 16; 81(12):953-964.

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3R/4R-tau species are found in Alzheimer disease (AD) and ~50% of Lewy body dementias at autopsy (LBD+tau); 4R-tau accumulations are found in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Digital image analysis techniques can elucidate patterns of tau pathology more precisely than traditional methods but repeatability across centers is unclear. We calculated regional percentage areas occupied by tau pathological inclusions from the middle frontal cortex (MFC), superior temporal cortex (STC), and angular gyrus (ANG) from cases from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California San Diego with AD, LBD+tau, PSP, or CBD (n? = 150) using QuPath. In both cohorts, AD and LBD+tau had the highest grey and white matter tau burden in the STC (p? = 0.04). White matter tau burden was relatively higher in 4R-tauopathies than 3R/4R-tauopathies (p? < 0.003). Grey and white matter tau were correlated in all diseases (R2 = 0.43-0.79, p? < 0.04) with the greatest increase of white matter per unit grey matter tau observed in PSP (p? < 0.02 both cohorts). Grey matter tau negatively correlated with MMSE in AD and LBD+tau (r? = -4.4 to -5.4, p? = 0.02). These data demonstrate the feasibility of cross-institutional digital histology studies that generate finely grained measurements of pathology which can be used to support biomarker development and models of disease progression.

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