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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by age-related cognitive decline. Brain accumulation of amyloid-β plaques and tau tangles is required for a neuropathological AD diagnosis, yet up to one-third of AD-pathology positive community-dwelling elderly adults experience no symptoms of cognitive decline during life. Conversely, some exhibit chronic cognitive impairment in absence of measurable neuropathology, prompting interest into cognitive resilience-retained cognition despite significant neuropathology-and cognitive frailty-impaired cognition despite low neuropathology. Synapse loss is widespread within the AD-dementia, but not AD-resilient, brain. Recent evidence points towards critical roles for synaptic proteins, such as neurosecretory VGF, in cognitive resilience. However, VGF and related proteins often signal as peptide derivatives. Here, nontryptic peptidomic mass spectrometry was performed on 102 post-mortem cortical samples from individuals across cognitive and neuropathological spectra. Neuropeptide signalling proteoforms derived from VGF, somatostatin (SST) and protachykinin-1 (TAC1) showed higher abundance in AD-resilient than AD-dementia brain, whereas signalling proteoforms of cholecystokinin (CCK) and chromogranin (CHG) A/B and multiple cytoskeletal molecules were enriched in frail vs control brain. Integrating our data with publicly available single nuclear RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) showed enrichment of cognition-related genes in defined cell-types with established links to cognitive resilience, including SST interneurons and excitatory intratelencephalic cells.

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Journal article


Sci Rep

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Humans, Aged, Alzheimer Disease, Resilience, Psychological, Brain, Amyloid beta-Peptides, Cognition, Cognitive Dysfunction