Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is associated with a range of clinical phenotypes and shows progressive degeneration of upper and/or lower motor neurons, and phosphorylated 43 kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (pTDP-43) inclusions in motor and non-motor pathways. Parkinsonian features have been reported in up to 30% of ALS patients, and Lewy bodies, normally associated with Lewy body disease (LBD), have been reported in a small number of ALS cases, with unknown clinical relevance. This study investigates the prevalence of clinically relevant LBD in a prospectively studied ALS cohort to determine whether concomitant pathology contributes to the clinical heterogeneity. Methods: All ALS cases held by the New South Wales Brain Bank (n = 97) were screened for coexisting LBD consistent with clinical disease (Braak ≥ stage IV). Relevant clinical and genetic associations were determined. Results: Six cases had coexisting LBD Braak ≥ stage IV pathology. The age at symptom onset (69 ± 7 years) and disease duration (4 ± 3 years) in ALS cases with coexisting LBD did not differ from ALS cases. Three patients had lower limb onset and two patients had bulbar onset. Two patients developed the clinical features of Parkinson's disease, with one receiving a dual diagnosis. All cases had no known relevant family history or genetic abnormalities. Conclusion: The prevalence of clinically relevant LBD pathology in ALS is higher than in the general population, and has implications for clinical and neuropathological diagnoses and the identification of biomarkers.
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lewy body