Biochemical mapping of neurofibrillary degeneration in a case of progressive supranuclear palsy: evidence for general cortical involvement

Acta Neuropathol. 1994;87(6):572-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00293317.


A biochemical study was performed to quantify and map the neurodegenerating process in cortical and subcortical brain areas from a case of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Our approach was based on a Western blot analysis of pathological Tau proteins, which are the basic components of neurofibrillary lesions. We found that: (i) the abnormal Tau proteins can be detected in all cortical areas, sometimes in larger amounts than in some subcortical areas; (ii) these abnormal Tau proteins consist of a doublet called Tau 64 and 69, except for in the entorhinal cortex where we detected, as for Alzheimer brains, the triplet of Tau proteins called Tau 55, 64 and 69; (iii) the amounts of abnormal Tau proteins were higher in some neocortical regions, especially in the frontal lobe, than in the hippocampal formation. Our results show that the neocortical pathology in PSP, as revealed by the presence of pathological proteins, is more extended than thought so far. Our biochemical approach appears to be more sensitive than the immunohistochemical one and can clearly differentiates between two types of neurofibrillary pathology, the Alzheimer type with a triplet of abnormal Tau proteins (Tau 55, 64 and 69) and the PSP type with a characteristic doublet (Tau 64 and 69).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration*
  • Neurofibrils / metabolism
  • Neurofibrils / ultrastructure*
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / metabolism
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • tau Proteins