Exonic and intronic mutations in the tau gene cause familial frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. Here, we describe a new mutation, consisting of a C-to-T transition at position +12 of the intron following exon 10 of the tau gene in the Kumamoto pedigree, showing frontotemporal dementia. The mutation caused a marked reduction in melting temperature of the tau exon 10-splicing regulatory element RNA and a large increase in exon 10-containing transcripts. Brain tissue from affected individuals showed an abnormal preponderance of exon 10-containing transcripts that was reflected at the protein level by an overproduction of tau isoforms with four microtubule-binding repeats. Immunostaining revealed the presence of tau aggregates in degenerating neurons and glial cells. Isolated tau filaments had a twisted ribbon-like morphology and were made of hyperphosphorylated four-repeat tau isoforms. The additional mutation located dose to the splice-donor site of the intron following exon 10 of the tau gene supports the view that intronic mutations exercize their pathogenic effect by destabilizing RNA secondary structure.