Quantitative neuropathologic analysis of Pick's disease cases: cortical distribution of Pick bodies and coexistence with Alzheimer's disease

P. R. Hof, C. Bouras, D. P. Perl, John Morrison

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99 Scopus citations


Pick's disease is characterized morphologically by severe atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes and the presence in the cerebral cortex of degenerative neuronal lesions referred to as Pick bodies. In the present study, we analyzed the regional and laminar distribution of Pick bodies in a series of 16 Pick's disease cases. These distribution and density patterns were compared with those observed for neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease. Very high densities of Pick bodies were observed Ammon's horn, subiculum, entorhinal cortex, and in the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus. In the frontal and temporal neocortex, they were preferentially distributed in layers II and VI. All of the Pick's disease cases also exhibited neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal and temporal areas and in the hippocampal formation, with higher densities in layers II-III than in layers V-VI of the neocortical regions. Interestingly, this laminar distribution of neurofibrillary tangles was strikingly different from that observed in Alzheimer's disease cases, where they were more numerous in the infragranular layers than in the supragranular layers. In addition, a few Pick's disease cases also had cortical senile plaques. These results suggest that the presence of neurofibrillary tangles in Pick's disease may be more frequent than previously reported, and that Pick's disease and Alzheimer's disease may coexist in certain cases. The lesion distribution patterns suggest that different populations of cortical neurons are affected in Pick's and Alzheimer's diseases, and that alterations of select corticocortical and corticosubcortical projections may distinguish these forms of dementia. It is also possible that these two disorders share certain pathogenetic mechanisms, even though both display specific patterns of regional and neuronal vulner-ability to the degenerative processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cortical connections Neurofibrillary tangles
  • Pick bodies
  • Pick's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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