Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 271–276

Selective loss of nigral neurons in Alzheimer's disease: a morphometric study

  • T. Uchihara
  • H. Kondo
  • K. Kosaka
  • H. Tsukagoshi
Regular Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00296789

Cite this article as:
Uchihara, T., Kondo, H., Kosaka, K. et al. Acta Neuropathol (1992) 83: 271. doi:10.1007/BF00296789

Summary

Loss of neurons from the substantia nigra (SN), which is sometimes observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD), was quantitatively analyzed in 10 cases of presenile AD and 19 age-matched controls. On sections from the upper and lower portions of the SN, the pigmented zone (zona compacta) and the nonpigmented zone (zona reticulata) were delineated, and these zones were partitioned into quarters: medial, mid-medial, mid-lateral and lateral. This approach clarified topographical preference of neuronal depletion in the SN of AD; namely (1) pigmented neurons were more severely affected than non-pigmented neurons, (2) neuronal depletion was more marked in the lower SN (−38%, P<0.001), where the pigmented neurons in the medial quarter were most severely affected (−51%, P<0.001), (3) in the upper SN (neuronal loss: −21%, P <0.01), the pigmented neurons in the mid-medial quarter were most severely affected (−43%, P<0.01). These findings suggest that some groups of nigral neurons are primarily involved in presenile AD. Gallyas staining after bleaching of melanin pigments uncovered a large number of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) mainly in the pigmented zone, especially in the medial quarter. A large number of NFTs, scarse senile plaques, and substantial depletion of neurons form an unique combination of Alzheimer pathology in the SN not well recognized so far.

Key words

Alzheimer's disease Substantia nigra Pigmented neurons Neurofibrillary tangles Morphometry 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Uchihara
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Kondo
    • 1
  • K. Kosaka
    • 1
    • 3
  • H. Tsukagoshi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeuropathologyPsychiatric Research Institute of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Faculty of MedicineTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and NeurologyYokohama City University, School of MedicineYokonamaJapan

Personalised recommendations