Size frequency distributions of β-amyloid (Aβ) deposits: a comparative study of four neurodegenerative disorders

Richard A. Armstrong

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Deposition of ß-amyloid (Aß ), a 'signature' pathological lesion of Alzheimer's disease (AD), is also characteristic of Down's syndrome (DS), and has been observed in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). To determine whether the growth of Aß deposits was similar in these disorders, the size frequency distributions of the diffuse ('pre-amyloid'), primitive ('neuritic'), and classic ('dense-cored') A ß deposits were compared in AD, DS, DLB, and CBD. All size distributions had essentially the same shape, i.e., they were unimodal and positively skewed. Mean size of Aß deposits, however, varied between disorders. Mean diameters of the diffuse, primitive, and classic deposits were greatest in DS, DS and CBD, and DS, respectively, while the smallest deposits, on average, were recorded in DLB. Although the shape of the frequency distributions was approximately log-normal, the model underestimated the frequency of smaller deposits and overestimated the frequency of larger deposits in all disorders. A 'power-law' model fitted the size distributions of the primitive deposits in AD, DS, and DLB, and the diffuse deposits in AD. The data suggest: (1) similarities in size distributions of Aß deposits among disorders, (2) growth of deposits varies with subtype and disorder, (3) different factors are involved in the growth of the diffuse/primitive and classic deposits, and (4) log-normal and power-law models do not completely account for the size frequency distributions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalFolia Neuropathologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

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  • β-amyloid (Aβ )
  • surface diffusion
  • log-normal distribution
  • size frequency distribution


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