Background: Glial tau pathology is seen in certain tauopathies and in ageing. We determined its frequency in ageing mesial temporal lobe and its relationship to other tau pathologies in the MRC-CFAS population-representative neuropathology cohort.
Methods: Mesial temporal lobe, including hippocampus, amygdala, entorhinal cortex and white matter, was examined using immunohistochemistry with the AT8 antibody to phospho-tau and RD3 and RD4 antibodies to 3R and 4R tau isoforms. Gallyas silver stain was used to detect fibrillar aggregates.
Results: Thorn-shaped astrocytes (TSA), positive with AT8, RD4 and Gallyas, were present in 49% of cases. They were particularly prevalent in subpial, periventricular and white matter perivascular locations and were less frequent in grey matter. Coiled bodies were seen in 18.8%. TSA were not related to Braak neurofibrillary tangle or hippocampal tangle pathology stages. TSA in grey matter were associated with coiled bodies (p = 0.011) and argyrophilic grains (p = 0.048), which were identified in 11.5% of cases. They did not correlate with dementia.
Conclusions: Astrocyte tau pathology is common in the ageing mesial temporal lobe. Its formation is independent of Alzheimer-type pathology. It is a 4R tauopathy, which may form part of a mesial temporal age-related 4R tauopathy that includes oligodendroglial tau and argyrophilic grains.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.