Staging of argyrophilic grains: an age-associated tauopathy

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004 Sep;63(9):911-8. doi: 10.1093/jnen/63.9.911.


We have reported that the ambient gyrus is the site with the greatest accumulation of argyrophilic grains (AGs) and that the degeneration of the ambient gyrus is responsible for dementia with grains. Here we analyzed 1,405 serial autopsy cases from 2 hospitals and detected AGs only in cases older than 56 years of age. The distribution of AGs followed a stereotypic regional pattern. Thus, we propose the following staging paradigm: stage I: AGs restricted to the ambient gyrus and its vicinity; stage II: AGs more apparent in the anterior and posterior medial temporal lobe, including the temporal pole, as well as the subiculum and entorhinal cortex; and stage III: abundant AGs in the septum, insular cortex, and anterior cingulate gyrus, accompanying spongy degeneration of the ambient gyrus. Sixty-three of 65 (96.9%) argyrophilic grain stage III cases without other dementing pathology were classified as 0.5 or higher in the clinical dementia rating. Forty-seven of 50 dementia with grains cases (94%) were stage III and 3 were stage II. No association with apoE genotyping was detected. Our study further confirms that dementia with grains is an age-associated tauopathy with relatively uniform distribution and may independently contribute to cognitive decline in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Atrophy / genetics
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Dementia / pathology*
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Entorhinal Cortex / pathology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / pathology
  • Limbic System / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfactory Pathways / metabolism
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / pathology
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiopathology
  • Sex Factors
  • Silver Staining
  • Tauopathies / genetics
  • Tauopathies / pathology*
  • Tauopathies / physiopathology
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • tau Proteins