Alzheimer's disease: report of two autopsy cases with a clinical diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration

Neuropathology. 2010 Apr;30(2):140-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2009.01062.x. Epub 2009 Sep 22.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a rare neurodegenerative disease affecting adults, being characterized clinically by a combination of extrapyramidal signs and focal cortical syndromes. In both diseases, tau deposits are a characteristic neuropathological feature. We report two new patients with autopsy-proven AD, in whom clinical diagnoses of CBD were made during life. The ages of the patients at onset were 52 and 67 years, and the disease durations were 9 and 15 years, respectively. At autopsy, both cases exhibited marked cortical atrophy with evident neuronal loss in the convex areas of the frontal and parietal lobes. Immunohistochemically, AT8-positive neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and Abeta-positive senile plaques (SPs) were widespread and abundant in the cerebral cortex (Alzheimer pathology stage VI/C of Braak and Braak), leading us to the final pathological diagnosis of AD. No tau lesions suggestive of CBD were observed, and the deep gray matter areas, including the substantia nigra, were unremarkable (exceptionally, only mild neuronal loss was noted in the putamen in case 2). These findings further strengthen the idea that in AD, neurodegeneration with tau and Abeta deposits may begin in the fronto-parietal neocortical areas, which are often preferentially affected in CBD, earlier than, or as early as the medial temporal lobe, and that extrapyramidal signs, such as rigidity and tremor, can occur in the absence of neuronal loss in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Atrophy / metabolism
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides