2018 Volume 7 Issue 1 Pages 32-36
Nasu-Hakola disease (NHD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by progressive presenile dementia and formation of multifocal bone cysts, caused by genetic mutations of either triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) or TYRO protein tyrosine kinase binding protein (TYROBP), alternatively named DNAX-activation protein 12 (DAP12), both of which are expressed on microglia in the brain and form the receptor-adaptor complex that chiefly recognizes anionic lipids. TREM2 transmits the signals involved in microglial survival, proliferation, chemotaxis, and phagocytosis. A recent study indicated that a loss of TREM2 function causes greater amounts of amyloid-β(Aβ) deposition in the hippocampus of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) owing to a dysfunctional response of microglia to amyloid plaques, suggesting that TREM2 facilitates Aβ clearance by microglia. TREM2/DAP12-mediated microglial response limits diffusion and toxicity of amyloid plaques by forming a protective barrier. However, the levels of Aβ deposition in postmortem brains of NHD, where the biological function of the TREM2/DAP12 signaling pathway is completely lost, remain to be investigated. By immunohistochemistry, we studied the expression of Aβ and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) in the frontal cortex and the hippocampus of five NHD cases. Although we identified several small Aβ-immunoreactive spheroids, amyloid plaques were almost undetectable in NHD brains. We found a small number of p-tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary tangle (NFT)-bearing neurons in NHD brains. Because AD pathology is less evident in NHD than the full-brown AD, it does not play an active role in the development of NHD.