Relationship between neuronal loss and tangle formation in neurons and oligodendroglia in progressive supranuclear palsy

Neuropathology. 2006 Feb;26(1):50-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2006.00655.x.


Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a progressive degenerative disorder characterized by neuronal loss, gliosis and abnormal fibril formation of abnormally phosphorylated tau protein in neurons and glia cells, but the cause is not clear at present. For the purpose of clarifying the pathological significance of accumulation of tau protein in neurons and oligodendroglia in PSP, we morphologically classified neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) and coiled bodies (CB) in oligodendroglia in three PSP brains into four stages, using double staining for immunohistochemistry with AT8 antibody and modified Gallyas-Braak (GB) staining. AT8-positive neurons without abnormal fibril structure with GB staining were classified as stage I, AT8-positive neurons containing a few fibril structures with GB staining were classified stage II, AT8-positive neurons containing mature fibril structures were classified as stage III, and AT8 negative neurons containing abnormal fibril structures stained only with GB staining were classified as stage IV (ghost tangles). These stages were also assessed for CB. Then we counted the number of cells of each stage in various brain regions to investigate the relationship of NFT and CB with neuronal loss and gliosis. The results showed that there were very few stage IV NFT and CB, which reflect cell death, but that stage III NFT and CB were abundant. Moreover, CB were abundant in regions with severe neuronal loss. These results suggest that appearance of CB is closely associated with degenerative regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology*
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology*
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / classification
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology*