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Am J Pathol. 1998 Nov;153(5):1359-63.

Tau pathology in two Dutch families with mutations in the microtubule-binding region of tau.

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Department of Neurology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Different mutations in the microtubule-associated tau protein gene have recently been identified in several families with hereditary frontotemporal dementia and Parkinsonism (FTDP-17) linked to chromosome 17q21-22. Some families show neuronal and glial deposits containing hyperphosphorylated tau in several brain regions. We have investigated the presence of tau deposits by using a panel of anti-tau antibodies in three brains of a family with the P301L mutation (HFTD1) and in another family with the G272V mutation (HFTD2) of the tau gene. Numerous intracytoplasmic tau deposits in neurons, glial cells, and neurites were found in hippocampal formation, neocortex, and substantia nigra. These deposits in three patients from HFTD1 consisted of slender twisted filaments 15 nm wide with variable periodicity and a few straight filaments. Tau extracted from these filaments appeared as two major bands of 64 and 68 kd and a minor band of 72 kd that, after alkaline phosphatase treatment, proved to consist mainly of 4-repeat tau isoforms and one of the 3-repeat isoforms. In three patients from HFTD2 numerous Pick-like bodies were present. The conclusion is that the type and distribution of tau deposits in HFTD1 and HFTD2, the physical structure of filaments, and tau isoform composition in HFTD1 differ from Alzheimer's disease and an FTDP-17 family with a V337M mutation in the tau gene.

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