, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 143-149
Date: 02 May 2003

Distribution of astrocytic plaques in the corticobasal degeneration brain and comparison with tuft-shaped astrocytes in the progressive supranuclear palsy brain

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Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) have some clinical and pathological features in common. Each, however, has been shown to have specific astrocytic inclusions. CBD is characterized by astrocytic plaques, and PSP is characterized by tuft-shaped astrocytes. To clarify differences between these inclusions, we investigated intracerebral distribution of astrocytic plaques and tuft-shaped astrocytes in autopsied brains of patients with either CBD or PSP. Specimens from ten patients with CBD and five patients with PSP were stained by the Gallyas-Braak method. Densities of the astrocytic plaques and tuft-shaped astrocytes were determined for 11 cerebral cortical regions, 6 subcortical nuclei, 5 brain stem regions, the cerebellar cortex and the dentate nucleus. Astrocytic plaques were most abundant in the prefrontal and premotor areas in the cerebral cortex of CBD brains, whereas tuft-shaped astrocytes were most prominent in the precentral gyrus and premotor area of PSP brains. Many astrocytic plaques were observed in the caudate nucleus of CBD brains, whereas tuft-shaped astrocytes were abundant in both the caudate and putamen and moderate in number in the globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus and thalamus in PSP brains. Very slight accumulation of astrocytic plaques was seen in the brain stem of CBD brains, whereas numerous tuft-shaped astrocytes were found in the red nucleus and superior colliculus of PSP brains. Distribution of the astrocytic plaques and tuft-shaped astrocytes differed greatly. Thus, CBD and PSP can be considered different entities.