Accumulation of C-terminally truncated tau protein associated with vulnerability of the perforant pathway in early stages of neurofibrillary pathology in Alzheimer’s disease

F. Garcia-Sierra, Claude Michel Wischik, Charles Robert Harrington, J. Luna-Munoz, R. Mena

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Neurofibrillary pathology is a characteristic hallmark of Alzheimer's disease that is closely correlated with cognitive decline. We have analysed the density and distribution of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) that are immunoreactive with the monoclonal antibody (mAb) 423 in a prospectively analysed population of Alzheimer's disease (AD) cases and age-matched controls. NFTs were examined in allocortical and isocortical areas and correlated with Braak pathological stage and clinical severity of dementia. The mAb 423 was used as it recognises a C-terminally truncated tau fragment that is a major constituent of NFTs. Our results show that extracellular NFTs and, to a lesser extent, intracellular NFTs, correlated significantly with both Braak stages and the clinical index of severity. Furthermore, a differential distribution of the two types of tangles indicates that layer II of the entorhinal cortex and the transentorhinal area are particularly vulnerable to neurofibrillary degeneration. These areas serve as a point of connection between isocortex and hippocampus. Our findings, therefore, suggest that the perforant pathway may be substantially affected by the accumulation of truncated tau protein in AD and that this represents a neuropathological predictor for the clinical severity of dementia. When neurofibrillary pathology was examined by combined labelling with mAbs 423 and Alz-50 and the dye thiazin red, we were able to demonstrate various stages of tau aggregation. The different stages may represent a sequence of conformational changes that tau proteins undergo during tangle formation in the allocortex during the early development of dementia in AD. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • confocal microscopy
  • entorhinal cortex mAb 423
  • neurofibrillary tangles
  • thiazin red
  • paired helical filaments
  • reaction end-products
  • entorhinal cortex
  • parahippocampal gyrus
  • monoclonal-antibody
  • neuronal loss
  • PHF core
  • brain
  • dementia
  • tangles

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