Argyrophilic grain disease: a late-onset dementia with distinctive features among tauopathies

Neuropathology. 2004 Dec;24(4):269-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2004.00591.x.


Argyrophilic grain disease (AgD) is a late-onset dementia morphologically characterized by the presence of abundant spindle-shaped argyrophilic grains (ArG) in neuronal processes and coiled bodies in oligodendrocytes. AgD changes consist of the microtubule-associated protein tau in an abnormally and hyperphosphorylated state and are mainly found in limbic regions, for example, in the hippocampus, the entorhinal and transentorhinal cortices and the amygdala. AgD shows a significant correlation with advancing age, and it became apparent from recent clinicopathological studies that it might account for approximately 5% of all dementia cases. Further immunohistochemical and biochemical studies revealed that AgD is a four-repeat (4R) tauopathy similar to PSP and corticobasal degeneration (CBD), but distinct from Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Pick's disease. Moreover, a common genetic background regarding the tau gene haplotype has been suggested for AgD, PSP and CBD. However, although there are currently only limited data available, AgD seems to be clinically distinct from PSP and CBD and shares rather features of (mild) AD or other forms of 'limbic' dementias, among them senile dementia with tangles and the localized form of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / chemistry*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / pathology*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Dementia / pathology*
  • Dementia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Silver Staining*
  • Tauopathies / epidemiology
  • Tauopathies / genetics
  • Tauopathies / pathology*
  • Tauopathies / physiopathology*