Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 90, Issue 6, pp 620–625

Thorn-shaped astrocytes: possibly secondarily induced tau-positive glial fibrillary tangles

  • K. Ikeda
  • H. Akiyama
  • H. Kondo
  • C. Haga
  • E. Tanno
  • T. Tokuda
  • S. Ikeda
Regular Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00318575

Cite this article as:
Ikeda, K., Akiyama, H., Kondo, H. et al. Acta Neuropathol (1995) 90: 620. doi:10.1007/BF00318575

Abstract

Argyrophilic and tau-positive abnormal structures occurring in glial cells are called glial fibrillary tangles. In the astrocyte, a conspicuous tau-positive structure is known to appear in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). In this report, another type of argyrophilic and tau-positive astrocytes is reported. The morphology of this new type is quite different from that of the previously reported tau-positive astrocyte in PSP and they are designated here as thorn-shaped astrocytes (TSA). TSA have an apparently argyrophilic cytoplasm with a few short processes and often have a small eccentric nucleus, whose appearance resembles that of a reactive astrocyte. Immunohistochemically, TSA are positive to anti-tau antibodies but are negative for ubiquitin. Simultaneous immunostaining revealed the coexistence of tau and glial fibrillary acidic protein epitopes in the same cytoplasm. Electron microscopically, bundles of 15-nm straight tubules were included in the cytoplasm together with abundant glial filaments. In the vicinity of a cluster of TSA, related structures of perivascular or subpial tau-positive linings, which correspond to astrocytic end-feet, are sometimes observed. In almost all cases, a few TSA are generally located in a confined area of subpial and subependymal regions. Although TSA appear to be intimately associated with some diseases, they are also found in a wide range of cytoskeletal disorders including the aged brain with neurofibrillary tangles. TSA are presumed to be a secondarily induced product in relation to astrocytic reaction.

Key words

Thorn-shaped astrocyte Glial fibrillary tangles Tau Astrocyte Straight tubules 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Ikeda
    • 1
  • H. Akiyama
    • 1
  • H. Kondo
    • 1
  • C. Haga
    • 1
  • E. Tanno
    • 1
  • T. Tokuda
    • 2
  • S. Ikeda
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeuropathologyTokyo Institute of PsychiatryJapan
  2. 2.Department of Medicine (Neurology)Shinshu University School of MedicineMatsumotoJapan

Personalised recommendations