Laminar distribution of the pathological changes in frontal and temporal cortex in 8 patients with progressive supranuclear palsy

Richard A. Armstrong, Nigel J. Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: To determine the laminar distribution of the pathological changes in the cerebral cortex in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). METHOD: The distribution of the abnormally enlarged neurons (EN), surviving neurons, neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), glial inclusions (GI), tufted astrocytes (TA), and neuritic plaques (NP) were studied across the cortex in tau immunolabeled sections of frontal and temporal cortex in 8 cases of PSP. RESULTS: The distribution of the NFT was highly variable with no consistent pattern of laminar distribution. The GI were distributed either in the lower laminae or uniformly across the cortex. Surviving neurons exhibited either a density peak in the upper laminae or a bimodal distribution was present with density peaks in the upper and lower laminae. The EN and glial cell nuclei were distributed primarily in the lower cortical laminae. There were positive correlations between the densities of the EN and glial cell nuclei and negative correlations between the surviving neurons and glial cells. No correlations were present between the densities of the NFT and GI. CONCLUSION: Cortical pathology in PSP predominantly affects the lower laminae but may spread to affect the upper laminae in some cases. The NFT and GI may have different laminar distributions and gliosis occurs concurrently with neuronal enlargement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neuropathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009



  • laminar distribution
  • pathological changes
  • cerebral cortex
  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • PSP

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