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Acta Neuropathol. 1989;78(3):225-31.

About the presence of paired helical filaments in dystrophic neurites participating in the plaque formation.

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New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island 10314.


Immunocytochemistry with monoclonal antibodies to the beta-protein and to antigens associated with paired helical filaments (PHF) allows us to selectively stain two major components of neuritic (senile) plaques (NP): PHF and amyloid deposits. Using this method, the structure of NP in the brains of Alzheimer disease victims was compared to their structure in the brains of non-demented aged individuals selected for high numbers of NP. It is demonstrated that the dystrophic neurites participating in the plaque formation contain PHF only when cortical nerve cells in the same brain area form neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). People with many NP and many NFT were always demented, whereas people with many NP but few, if any NFT were not. It is speculated that there is individual susceptibility to the formation of PHF and that their appearance may represent a nonspecific response of the neuronal network to different kinds of injuries, like the deposition of amyloid in Alzheimer disease, or other pathogenic factors associated with various dementive neurodegenerative diseases. It is hypothesized that the deposition of brain amyloid in people resistant to neurofibrillary pathology may induce too little dysfunction for the development of dementia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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