Widespread cytoskeletal pathology characterizes corticobasal degeneration

Am J Pathol. 1995 Jun;146(6):1388-96.


Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a rare, progressive neurological disorder characterized by widespread neuronal and glial pathology. Using immunohistochemistry and laser confocal microscopy, we demonstrate that the nonamyloid cortical plaques of CBD are actually collections of abnormal tau in the distal processes of astrocytes. These glial cells express both vimentin and CD44, markers of astrocyte activation. Glial pathology also includes tau-positive cytoplasmic inclusions, here localized to Leu 7-expressing oligodendrocytes. In addition, a wide array of neuronal pathology is defined with tau-positive inclusions in multiple domains of a variety of cortical neurons. CBD thus exhibits widespread glial and neuronal cytoskeletal pathology, including a novel structure, the astrocytic plaque. CBD is a disease of generalized cytoskeletal disruption affecting several cell types and multiple domains of these cells. The further definition of CBD pathology refines the diagnosis and pathophysiological understanding of this unique disease and has important implications for other neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's disease, characterized by abnormal tau deposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / pathology*
  • Cytoskeleton / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiology
  • Oligodendroglia / chemistry
  • tau Proteins / analysis*


  • tau Proteins