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Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Mar;105(3):265-70. Epub 2002 Nov 22.

Dementia with Lewy bodies from the perspective of tauopathy.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, 3-9 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Japan.


We immunohistochemically investigated the prevalence and pattern of phosphorylated tau accumulation in neurons and glia in 46 cases of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Tau-positive neurons composed of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) and pretangle neurons were found in the hippocampal area in all 46 cases, although the ratio of pretangle neurons in tau-positive neurons was higher in the cases showing low NFT stages. Tau-positive astrocytes were found in the periventricular area in 18 of 46 cases, and partly represented argyrophilic thorn-shaped astrocytes. In contrast, tau-positive oligodendroglia were found in the subcortical white matter in 9 of 46 cases, and represented argyrophilic coiled bodies. Tau-positive argyrophilic grains were found in the hippocampal area in the same cases as those with coiled bodies. The 9 cases with tau-positive coiled bodies and grains were included in the 18 cases with tau-positive astrocytes, and showed larger proportions in the low NFT stages than the 46 cases with tau-positive neurons. Tau-positive neurons were positive both to anti-three-repeat (3R) and -4R tau-specific antibodies, while tau-positive astrocytes, coiled bodies and grains were predominantly positive to anti-4R tau-specific antibody. These tau-positive structures were negative to anti-alpha-synuclein antibody. These findings suggest that the tau accumulation in DLB represents both tau-positive neurons with all six tau isoforms and tau-positive astrocytes, coiled bodies and grains with the 4R tau isoform, and that the different cytoskeletal abnormalities form a link between some neurodegenerative dementing disorders including DLB.

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