Tau, ubiquitin, and alpha B-crystallin immunohistochemistry define the principal causes of degenerative frontotemporal dementia

Arch Neurol. 1995 Oct;52(10):1011-5. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1995.00540340103019.


Objective: We investigated the use of immunostaining with antibodies to tau, ubiquitin, and alpha B-crystallin in defining a protocol for the staged neuropathologic examination of brains from patients with a progressive frontotemporal dementia.

Design: Brains obtained from 50 patients dying with the clinical diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia were examined histopathologically to define pathologic distinctions.

Setting: Two university hospital neuropathology departments.

Results: Anti-tau immunostaining defined corticobasal degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and Pick's disease; antiubiquitin defined motor neuron disease with dementia. The remaining brains have frontal lobe degeneration: the use of alpha B-crystallin immunostaining, on these, to detect ballooned neurons may help to define two groups of patients, one of which we believe may represent a variant of Pick's disease.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that immunostaining with these antibodies is essential for the evaluation of frontal dementia.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Crystallins / analysis*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / metabolism*
  • Dementia / pathology*
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Ubiquitins / analysis*
  • tau Proteins / analysis*


  • Antibodies
  • Crystallins
  • Ubiquitins
  • tau Proteins