Disease specificity and pathologic progression of tau pathology in brainstem nuclei of Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy

Brittany Dugger, Michael Tu, Melissa E. Murray, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies have shown tau pathology in the inferior colliculus (IC) and superior colliculus (SC) in Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, it has not been compared to other tauopathies, such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), or characterized with respect to progression of tau pathology in AD. The main purpose of this study was to investigate frequency, neuroanatomical selectivity and disease specificity of tau pathology in visual and auditory nuclei (SC and lateral geniculate body (LGB); IC and medial geniculate body (MGB), respectively). We measured phospho-tau burden with immunohistochemistry and image analysis in 26 cases of AD, 37 PSP and 11 normal controls. Tau burden was also assessed in two unrelated brainstem nuclei (substantia nigra (SN) and pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN)) of the same cases. We found tau burden to be greater in the SC of PSP compared to AD and controls. Conversely, tau burden was greater in the IC of AD compared to PSP and controls. The MGB and LGB had sparse tau pathology in both AD and PSP. This disease selectivity parallels known deficits in visual reflexes in PSP and auditory reflexes in AD. Tau burden was greater in the SC, IC, and PPN in both PSP and AD compared to controls, and greater in the SN in PSP compared to AD and controls. Although present at early Braak neurofibrillary tangle stages, the SC, IC, PPN and SN did not accumulate tau consistently until later stages. These findings support a concept of tau pathology affecting the brainstem at mid-to-late stage AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume491
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 17 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Brain Stem
Inferior Colliculi
Alzheimer Disease
Pathology
Superior Colliculi
Geniculate Bodies
Substantia Nigra
Reflex
Tauopathies
Neurofibrillary Tangles
Immunohistochemistry

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Colliculi
  • Geniculate bodies
  • Pedunculopontine nucleus
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Substantia nigra
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Disease specificity and pathologic progression of tau pathology in brainstem nuclei of Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. / Dugger, Brittany; Tu, Michael; Murray, Melissa E.; Dickson, Dennis W.

In: Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 491, No. 2, 17.03.2011, p. 122-126.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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