Corticonigral degeneration with neuronal achromasia presenting with primary progressive aphasia: ultrastructural and immunocytochemical studies

J Neurol Sci. 1994 Dec 20;127(2):186-97. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(94)90072-8.


We describe a clinico-pathological variant of a degenerative disorder involving Broca's, Wernicke's, and supplementary motor areas, which presented as primary progressive aphasia, dysarthria, bucco-facial apraxia, and hearing loss as initial symptoms, followed by organic personality changes. Postmortem examination revealed severe focal atrophy of the cerebral convolutions in the frontal operculum, superior frontal gyrus, and superior and transverse temporal gyri in addition to diffuse atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes in both hemispheres. Microscopical examination revealed argyrophilic neuronal inclusions (ANIs) in the neuronal perikarya and presynaptic terminal throughout the central nervous system, as well as neuronal loss and swollen chromatolytic neurons in the affected cortices. Neocortical ANIs showed a positive immunoreaction with an anti-tau antibody but only a weak reaction with an anti-ubiquitin antibody immunohistochemically. Ultrastructurally, neocortical ANIs consisted of 15-nm thick smooth-surfaced tubules and tubules with constrictions at 120-150-nm intervals; thus they were different from the typical paired helical filaments of the 80-nm interval constrictions observed in the subiculum. ANIs were also found in the basal ganglia, brain stem nuclei, and cervical cord. Accordingly, ANIs appear distinct from neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) of progressive supranuclear palsy, NFTs of Alzheimer-type dementia, and Pick bodies. The authors consider that this case fits the histopathological criteria of corticonigral degeneration with neuronal achromasia except for the unusual extension to the temporal lobes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia / metabolism
  • Aphasia / pathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / immunology
  • Inclusion Bodies / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiology*
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Silver Staining
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology*
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Ubiquitins
  • tau Proteins