Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 171–178

Neuronal cytoskeletal changes are an early consequence of repetitive head injury

  • J. F. Geddes
  • G. H. Vowles
  • J. A. R. Nicoll
  • T. Révész
Regular paper

DOI: 10.1007/s004010051066

Cite this article as:
Geddes, J., Vowles, G., Nicoll, J. et al. Acta Neuropathol (1999) 98: 171. doi:10.1007/s004010051066

Abstract

While neuropathological studies have established the pathology of dementia pugilistica to be similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease, there is little information about the early histological changes caused by the repetitive trauma that eventually produces dementia pugilistica. We have examined the brains of four young men and a frontal lobectomy specimen from a fifth, age range 23– 28 years, all of whom suffered mild chronic head injury. There were two boxers, a footballer, a mentally subnormal man with a long history of head banging, and an epileptic patient who repeatedly hit his head during seizures. The four autopsy cases were widely sampled; the lobectomy specimen was serially sliced after fixation. Routine stains were performed; immunostaining included β-amyloid precursor protein, amyloid β-protein (Aβ), tau and apolipoprotein E (apoE). Pathological findings in all five cases were of neocortical neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads, with groups of tangles consistently situated around blood vessels in the worst affected regions. No Aβ immunoreactivity was detected. The amount of neuronal apoE expression varied widely between the cases with no clear relation to the NFTs. The apoE genotype was determined in only two cases (both ɛ3/ɛ3). It appears that repetitive head injury in young adults is initially associated with neocortical NFT formation in the absence of Aβ deposition. The distribution of the tau pathology suggests that the pathogenesis of cytoskeletal abnormalities may involve damage to blood vessels or perivascular elements.

Key words Head injuryChronic traumatic braininjuryNeurofibrillary tanglesDementia pugilisticaHyperphosphorylation of tau

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Geddes
    • 1
  • G. H. Vowles
    • 1
  • J. A. R. Nicoll
    • 2
  • T. Révész
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Morbid Anatomy, St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK e-mail: j.f.geddes@mds.qmw.ac.uk Fax: +44-171-377-0949GB
  2. 2.Department of Neuropathology, University of Glasgow, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Glasgow G51 4TF, UKGB
  3. 3.Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 3BG, UKGB