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Acta Neuropathol. 2001 Feb;101(2):167-73.

Distinct isoforms of tau aggregated in neurons and glial cells in brains of patients with Pick's disease, corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy.

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Department of Neuropathology, Tokyo Institute of Psychiatry, Japan.


We investigated isoform composition of aggregated tau protein in brains with Pick's disease (PiD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) by immunoblot analysis of sarkosyl-insoluble fractions of brain homogenates. We also examined the adjacent brain tissues immunohistochemically with a rabbit antibody, Ex10, which specifically recognizes exon 10 of tau. The Ex10 recognizes tau isoforms with four microtubule-binding repeats (4Rtau) but not those with three microtubule-binding repeats (3Rtau). Sarkosyl-insoluble tau from the brains of patients with CBD and PSP consisted of 4Rtau. Insoluble tau from the PiD brains contained both 3Rtau and 4Rtau, where 3Rtau predominated over 4Rtau. In brain tissues of CBD and PSP, Ex10 immunostained all neuronal and glial tau-positive structures. They included pre-tangles, astrocytic plaques, tuft-shaped astrocytes, and oligodendroglial coiled bodies. In PiD brains, astrocytic inclusions were also positive for 4Rtau. However, the majority of, if not all, Pick bodies and oligodendroglial tau inclusions were negative for 4Rtau. Such results suggest that, in neurons and oligodendroglia, tau isoforms involved in the pathological processes differ between CBD/PSP and PiD, and are thus disease specific. This contrasts with the astrocytic tau isoforms that accumulate similarly in all three disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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