The spatial patterns of beta-amyloid deposits and neurofibrillary tangles in the cerebral cortex in Alzheimer's disease

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposits and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) are not randomly distributed but exhibit a spatial pattern, i.e., a departure from randomness towards regularity or clustering. Studies of the spatial pattern of a lesion may contribute to an understanding of its pathogenesis and therefore, of AD itself. This article describes the statistical methods most commonly used to detect the spatial patterns of brain lesions and the types of spatial patterns exhibited by ß-amyloid deposits and NFT in the cerebral cortex in AD. These studies suggest that within the cerebral cortex, Abeta deposits and NFT exhibit a similar spatial pattern, i.e., an aggregation of individual lesions into clusters which are regularly distributed parallel to the pia mater. The location, size and distribution of these clusters supports the hypothesis that AD is a 'disconnection syndrome' in which degeneration of specific cortical pathways results in the formation of clusters of NFT and Abeta deposits. In addition, a model to explain the development of the pathology within the cerebral cortex is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimers Reports
Volume3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • neurofibrillary
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • beta-amyloid deposits
  • neurofibrillary tangles
  • spatial patterns
  • clustering
  • cortico-cortical projections

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