Clustering and periodicity of neurofibrillary tangles in the upper and lower cortical laminae in Alzheimer's disease

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  • Richard A. Armstrong

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Abstract

In Alzheimer's disease (AD), neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) occur within neurons in both the upper and lower cortical laminae. Using a statistical method that estimates the size and spacing of NFT clusters along the cortex parallel to the pia mater, two hypotheses were tested: 1) that the cluster size and distribution of the NFT in gyri of the temporal lobe reflect degeneration of the feedforward (FF) and feedback (FB) cortico-cortical pathways, and 2) that there is a spatial relationship between the clusters of NFT in the upper and lower laminae. In 16 temporal lobe gyri from 10 cases of sporadic AD, NFT were present in both the upper and lower laminae in 11/16 (69%) gyri and in either the upper or lower laminae in 5/16 (31%) gyri. Clustering of the NFT was observed in all gyri. A significant peak-to-peak distance was observed in the upper laminae in 13/15 (87%) gyri and in the lower laminae in 8/ 12 (67%) gyri, suggesting a regularly repeating pattern of NFT clusters along the cortex. The regularly distributed clusters of NFT were between 500 and 800 μm in size, the estimated size of the cells of origin of the FF and FB cortico-cortical projections, in the upper laminae of 6/13 (46%) gyri and in the lower laminae of 2/8 (25%) gyri. Clusters of NFT in the upper laminae were spatially correlated (in phase) with those in the lower laminae in 5/16 (31%) gyri. The clustering patterns of the NFT are consistent with their formation in relation to the FF and FB cortico-cortical pathways. In most gyri, NFT clusters appeared to develop independently in the upper and lower laminae.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalFolia Neuropathologica
Volume46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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    Keywords

  • alzheimer's disease, clustering, cortico-cortico projections, neurofibrillary tangles, pattern analysis by regression, peak-to-peak distance

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