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A novel temporal-predominant neuro-astroglial tauopathy associated with TMEM106B gene polymorphism in FTLD/ALS-TDP.

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Polymorphisms in TMEM106B, a gene on chromosome 7p21.3 involved in lysosomal trafficking, correlates to worse neuropathological, and clinical outcomes in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with TDP-43 inclusions. In a small cohort of C9orf72 expansion carriers, we previously found an atypical, neuroglial tauopathy in cases harboring a TMEM106B rs1990622 A/A genotype. To test whether TMEM106B genotype affects the risk of developing atypical tauopathy under a recessive genotype model (presence versus absence of two major alleles: A/A vs. A/G and G/G). We characterized the atypical tauopathy neuropathologically and determined its frequency by TMEM106B rs1990622 genotypes in 90 postmortem cases with a primary diagnosis of FTLD/ALS-TDP [mean age at death 65.5 years (±8.1), 40% female]. We investigated the effect of this new atypical tauopathy on demographics and clinical and neuropsychological metrics. We also genotyped TMEM106B in an independent series with phenotypically similar cases. Sixteen cases (16/90, 17.7 %) showed the temporal-predominant neuro-astroglial tauopathy, and 93.7% of them carried an A/A genotype (vs. ~35% in a population cohort). The odds ratio of FTLD/ALS-TDP individuals with the A/A genotype showing neuro-astroglial tauopathy was 13.9. Individuals with this tauopathy were older at onset (p = 0.01). The validation cohort had a similarly high proportion of rs1990622 A/A genotype. TDP-43 and tau changes co-occur in a subset of neurons. Our data add to the growing body of evidence that TMEM106B polymorphisms may modulate neurodegeneration. A distinctive medial temporal predominant, 4-repeat, neuro-astroglial tauopathy strongly correlates to TMEM106B A/A genotype in FTLD/ALS-TDP cases.

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