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.