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J Neurol. 1992 Apr;239(4):191-4.

Ultrastructural and immunohistochemical study of degenerate neurite-bearing ghost tangles.

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Department of Neuropathology, Psychiatric Research Institute of Tokyo, Japan.


Some ghost tangles in the brains of Alzheimer patients were accompanied by many small argyrophilic structures which were electron microscopically confirmed to be degenerate neurites. In these ghost tangles, roughly dispersed 15 nm straight and occasional twisted tubules were penetrated by proliferated astrocytic processes. Immunohistochemically, these ghost tangles lost immunoreactivities to anti-NFT, -tau and -ubiquitin antibodies, but were thioflavine-S fluorescent, though antigenicity to beta-protein was not proved. This similarity in composition of degenerate neurite-bearing ghost tangles to senile plaques might be induced by the amyloid nature of tubules, which probably provokes the reaction of neuropils.

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