Parkinson's disease dementia: what's in a Lewy body?J Neural Transm Suppl. 2006JN
This brief review deals with pathological aspects of dementia associated with Parkinson's disease (PDD). PDD has been variably linked with cortical Lewy body topography and density. alpha-Synuclein and Alzheimer-type pathology frequently co-exist, suggesting that a combination of pathology related to protein dysmetabolism, possibly with synergistic protein-protein interaction, underpins the cognitive impairment in PDD. Dementia may therefore ensue when a "toxic threshold" is reached, irrespective of the combination of pathologies involved in reaching that threshold. The nature of this putative protein-protein interaction needs to be further elucidated, and also whether there are specific clinical correlates of the pathological substrate. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid proteins or imaging techniques may be useful in future as biomarkers to identify the relative contribution of Lewy-related and Alzheimer-type pathology in a given case of PDD and to inform the rational use of drugs that can reduce alpha-synuclein aggregation and beta-amyloid production.