Pathological tau signatures and nuclear alterations in neurons, astrocytes and microglia in Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and dementia with Lewy bodies

Mauro Montalbano, Lajja Majmundar, Urmi Sengupta, Leiana Fung, Rakez Kayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Accumulation of pathological tau aggregates is a prominent feature in tauopathies that leads during the course of the diseases to neuronal dysfunction before and cell death after. Microglia and astrocytes have been described as playing important roles in synaptic spreading of toxic tau in several neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). Here, we have investigated the immunological and biochemical properties of aggregated tau species in different brain cell types in tau-induced neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Additionally, we examined nuclear size, nuclear density, and chromatin compaction in neuronal and glial cells from diseased brain tissues. Microscopic-histological examination was performed using in-house mouse monoclonal antibodies for toxic tau conformers (TTC-M1 and TTC-M2) and tau oligomers (TOMA1-4). By immunohistochemistry and co-immunofluorescence assays using TOMA/TTC-Ms and cell-type specific markers for neurons, astrocytes, and microglia, we observed that TOMA/TTC-Ms were immunoreactive to diverse tau species in different cell types. Analysis of colocalization coefficients indicated an increased pathological tau deposition mainly in the neurons. Western blot analysis of brain homogenates using TOMA/TTC-Ms revealed distinct patterns of tau aggregation in each disease, suggesting that TOMA/TTC-Ms can distinguish between different tau aggregates present in different tauopathies. Additionally, using DAPI staining, we observed that neuronal and astrocytic nuclei had significantly greater nuclear area and increased chromatin compaction in AD cortices compared to non-demented controls. In contrast, reduction in nuclear density/area and more relaxed chromatin was noticed in DLB neurons, astrocytes and microglia and PSP astrocytes and microglia. Cell-type specific tropism of toxic tau species in tauopathies will provide a greater understanding of the involvement of different brain cell types in tau pathology. In this study, we observed that each disease presented cell-type specific nuclear phenotype and tau deposition pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBrain Pathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • glia
  • neuron
  • nuclei
  • tau conformers
  • tauopathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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