Spatial patterns of neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in the tauopathies: A comparative study of five disorders

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The tauopathies are a major molecular group of neurodegenerative disorders characterised by the deposition of abnormal cellular aggregates of the microtubule associated protein (MAP) tau in the form of neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI). Recent research suggests that cell to cell propagation of pathogenic tau may be involved in the neurodegeneration of these disorders. If pathogenic tau spreads along anatomical pathways it may give rise to specific spatial patterns of the NCI in brain tissue. To test this hypothesis, the spatial patterns of NCI in cerebral cortical regions were compared in tissue sections taken from five major tauopathies: (1) argyrophilic grain disease (AGD), (2) Alzheimer's disease (AD), (3) corticobasal degeneration (CBD), (4) Pick's disease (PiD), and (5) progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). In the cerebral cortex of these disorders, NCI were frequently aggregated into clusters and the clusters were regularly distributed parallel to the pia mater. In a significant proportion of regions, the mean size of the regularly distributed clusters of NCI was in the range 400 – 800 m, measured parallel to the pia mater, approximating to the dimension of cell columns associated with the cortico-cortical anatomical pathways. Hence, the data suggest that cortical NCI in the tauopathies exhibit a spatial pattern in the cortex which could result from the spread of pathogenic tau along anatomical pathways. Treatments designed to protect the cortex from tau propagation may therefore be applicable across several different disorders within this molecular group.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHorizons in nuroscience research
EditorsAndres Costa, Eugenio Villalba
Place of PublicationHauppauge, New York
PublisherNova science
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63483-801-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-63483-784-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameHorizons in Neuroscience Research


  • tauopathy
  • Spatial pattern
  • neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions
  • cell to cell transfer
  • Alzheimer's desease


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  • Quantification of white matter abnormalities in neurodegenerative disease

    Armstrong, R. A., 2015, Horizons in neuroscience research. Costa, A. & Villalba, E. (eds.). Hauppauge, New York: Nova science, p. 93-114 22 p. (Horizons in Neuroscience Research; vol. 23).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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