Abnormally phosphorylated tau protein related to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads in the cerebral cortex of sheep and goat

Neurosci Lett. 1994 Apr 25;171(1-2):1-4. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(94)90589-4.


Frontal sections including temporal isocortex, entorhinal region and hippocampus from aged domestic animals (dog, cat, horse, sheep and goat) were studied for Alzheimer-related changes using immunostaining with the AT8 antibody for abnormally phosphorylated tau protein and selective silver techniques for A4 amyloid and neurofibrillary changes of the Alzheimer type. The material available to us did not show A4 amyloid deposits or argyrophilic neurofibrillary changes. Only the brains of aged sheep and goat exhibited the presence of AT8-immunoreactive pyramidal cells in the entorhinal region and hippocampal formation. Two groups of AT8-positive neurons could be observed: The first group contained evenly distributed immunoreactive material in all parts of the soma, the dendrites and the axon. The neuronal processes appeared quite normal. The second group, however, showed conspicuous changes in the cellular processes consisting of a loss of immunoreactivity within the axon and the proximal dendrites and the appearance of intensely stained swellings within the curved distal dendrites. These changes were closely reminiscent to alterations of the cytoskeleton known to occur at the same location in the aging human brain and in Alzheimer's disease. The findings justify a closer look at sheep and goat when searching for suitable animal models for experimental studies of the conditions responsible for the development of Alzheimer-related neurofibrillary changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Goats
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Horses
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Sheep
  • Staining and Labeling
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • tau Proteins