Clinical effects of Lewy body pathology in cognitively impaired individuals.

Quadalti C, Palmqvist S, Hall S, Rossi M, Mammana A, Janelidze S, Dellavalle S, Mattsson-Carlgren N, Baiardi S, Stomrud E, Hansson O, Parchi P. Nat Med. 2023 Aug;29(8):1964-1970. doi: 10.1038/s41591-023-02449-7.

There is poor knowledge about the clinical effects of Lewy body (LB) pathology in patients with cognitive impairment, especially when coexisting with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology (amyloid-β and tau). Using a seed amplification assay, we analyzed cerebrospinal fluid for misfolded LB-associated α-synuclein in 883 memory clinic patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia from the BioFINDER study. Twenty-three percent had LB pathology, of which only 21% fulfilled clinical criteria of Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies at baseline. Among these LB-positive patients, 48% had AD pathology. Fifty-four percent had AD pathology in the whole sample (17% of mild cognitive impairment and 24% of patients with dementia were also LB-positive). When examining independent cross-sectional effects, LB pathology but not amyloid-β or tau, was associated with hallucinations and worse attention/executive, visuospatial and motor function. LB pathology was also associated with faster longitudinal decline in all examined cognitive functions, independent of amyloid-β, tau, cognitive stage and a baseline diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson’s disease. LB status provides a better precision-medicine approach to predict clinical trajectories independent of AD biomarkers and a clinical diagnosis, which could have implications for the clinical management of cognitive impairment and the design of AD and LB drug trials.