, Volume 112, Issue 4, pp 389-404,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Aug 2006

Staging of Alzheimer disease-associated neurofibrillary pathology using paraffin sections and immunocytochemistry

Abstract

Assessment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related neurofibrillary pathology requires a procedure that permits a sufficient differentiation between initial, intermediate, and late stages. The gradual deposition of a hyperphosphorylated tau protein within select neuronal types in specific nuclei or areas is central to the disease process. The staging of AD-related neurofibrillary pathology originally described in 1991 was performed on unconventionally thick sections (100 μm) using a modern silver technique and reflected the progress of the disease process based chiefly on the topographic expansion of the lesions. To better meet the demands of routine laboratories this procedure is revised here by adapting tissue selection and processing to the needs of paraffin-embedded sections (5–15 μm) and by introducing a robust immunoreaction (AT8) for hyperphosphorylated tau protein that can be processed on an automated basis. It is anticipated that this revised methodological protocol will enable a more uniform application of the staging procedure.

This study was made possible by funding from the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and BrainNet Europe II (European Commission LSHM-CT-2004-503039). This publication reflects only the viewpoint of the authors, the European Community is not responsible for its use or contents.