Senile dementia with tangles (tangle predominant form of senile dementia)

Brain Pathol. 1998 Apr;8(2):367-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.1998.tb00160.x.


Senile dementia with tangles is a sporadic subset of very late onset dementia with preponderance in females over age 80 years. Neuropathology shows diffuse cerebral atrophy with neurofibrillary tangles, often ghost tangles, and neuropil threads almost limited to limbic areas (transentorhinal, entorhinal area, hippocampuS--not exclusively sector CA 1--and amygdala) with only rare and mild involvement of the neocortex, basal ganglia and brainstem (except nucleus basalis and locus ceruleus), absence of neuritic plaques and absence or scarcety of amyloid deposits. This pattern of fibrillary pathology corresponds to Braak stages III and IV or the "limbic" type of Alzheimer disease that is considered the main form in the oldest-old but escapes the current criteria for the morphologic diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. It is distinct from other tau- or tangle-pathology related conditions, e.g. progressive supranuclear palsy, autosomal dominant dementia with tangles, and diffuse tangles with calcification. Very low prevalence of ApoE e4 allele (0.03-0.11%) and higher frequency of ApoE e3 and/or e2 suggest a lack of promoting effect of e4 and a possible protecting effect of e2/3 on amyloidogenesis. Senile dementia with tangles is suggested to be a variant of Alzheimer disease occurring in the oldest-old, but its nosological position within aging disorders of the brain is still controversy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Apolipoproteins / genetics
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dementia / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology*


  • Apolipoproteins