Cortical degeneration in chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic change

Richard A Armstrong, Ann C. McKee, Thor D. Stein, Victor E. Alvarez, Nigel J. Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An observational study to compare the laminar distributions in frontal and temporal cortex of the tau-immunoreactive pathologies in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimer’s disease neuropathologic change (ADNC).

Post-mortem material of (1) four cases of CTE without ADNC, (2) seven cases of CTE with ADNC (CTE/ADNC), and (3) seven cases of ADNC alone.

In CTE and CTE/ADNC, neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), neuropil threads (NT), and dot-like grains (DLG) were distributed either in upper cortex or across all layers. Low densities of astrocytic tangles (AT) and abnormally enlarged neurons (EN) were not localized to any specific layer. Surviving neurons exhibited peaks of density in both upper and lower cortex, and vacuole density was greatest in superficial layers. In ADNC, neuritic plaques (NP) were more frequent, AT rare, NFT and NT were more widely distributed, NT affected lower layers more frequently, and surviving neurons were less frequently bimodal than in CTE and CTE/ADNC.

Tau pathology in CTE and CTE/ADNC consistently affected the upper cortex but was more widely distributed in ADNC. The presence of CTE may encourage the development of ADNC pathology later in the course of the disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529–533
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date18 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Alzheimer’s disease neuropathologic change (ADNC)
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Laminar distribution
  • Tauopathy


Dive into the research topics of 'Cortical degeneration in chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this