Journal of Neurology

, Volume 239, Issue 4, pp 191–194

Ultrastructural and immunohistochemical study of degenerate neurite-bearing ghost tangles

  • K. Ikeda
  • C. Haga
  • S. Oyanagi
  • S. Iritani
  • K. Kosaka
Original Communications


Some ghost tangles in the brains of Alzheimer patients were accompanied by many small argyrophilic structures which were electron microscopically confirmed to be degenerate neurites. In these ghost tangles, roughly dispersed 15 nm straight and occasional twisted tubules were penetrated by proliferated astrocytic processes. Immunohistochemically, these ghost tangles lost immunoreactivities to anti-NFT, -tau and -ubiquitin antibodies, but were thioflavine-S fluorescent, though antigenicity to β-protein was not proved. This similarity in composition of degenerate neurite-bearing ghost tangles to senile plaques might be induced by the amyloid nature of tubules, which probably provokes the reaction of neuropils.

Key words

Ghost tangles Degenerate neurites Astrocytes Senile plaques Ultrastructure 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Allsop D, Haga S, Burton C, Ishii T, Roberts GW (1990) Neurofibrillary tangles in some cases of dementia pugilistica share antigens with amyloid β-protein of Alzheimer's disease. Am J Pathol 136:255–260PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alzheimer A (1911) Über eigenartige Krankheitsfälle des späteren Alters. Z Ges Neurol Psychiatr 4:356–385Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Defossez A, Delacourte A (1987) Transformation of degenerating neurofibrils into amyloid substance in Alzheimer's disease: histochemical and immunohistochemical studies. J Neurol Sci 81:1–10PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Haga S, Akai K, Ishii T (1989) Demonstration of microglial cells in and around senile (neuritic) plaques in the Alzheimer brain. An immunohistochemical study using a novel monoclonal antibody. Acta Neuropathol 77:569–575PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hyman BT, Van Hoesen GW, Beyreuther K, Masters CL (1989) A4 amyloid protein immunoreactivity is present in Alzheimer's disease neurofibrillary tangles. Neurosci Lett 101:352–355PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ihara Y (1988) Massive somatodendritic sprouting of cortical neurons in Alzheimer's disease. Brain Res 459:138–144PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ishii T, Kametani F, Haga S (1989) The immunohistochemical demonstration of subsequences of the precursors of amyloid A4 protein in senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 15:135–147PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kidd M, Allsop D, Landon M (1985) Senile plaque amyloid, paired helical filaments and cerebrovascular amyloid in Alzheimer's disease are all deposits of the same protein. Lancet I:278Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kirschner DA, Abraham C, Selkoe DJ (1986) X-ray diffraction from intraneuronal fibers in Alzheimer disease indicates cross β-conformation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83:503–507PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Masters CL, Multhaup G, Simms G, Pottgiesser J, Martins RN, Beyreuther K (1985) Neuronal origin of a cerebral amyloid: neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's disease contain the same protein as the amyloid of plaque cores and blood vessels. EMBO J 4:2757–2763PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mori H, Kondo J, Ihara Y (1987) Ubiquitin is a component of paired helical filaments in Alzheimer's disease. Science 235:1641–1644PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Okamoto K, Hirano A, Yamaguchi H, Hirai S (1983) The fine structure of eosinophilic stage of Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles. J Clin Electron Microsc 16:77–82Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Probst A, Ulrich J, Heitz PU (1982) Senile dementia of Alzheimer type: astroglial reaction to extracellular neurofibrillar tangles in hippocampus. Acta Neuropathol 57:75–79PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schmidt ML, Gur RC, Trojanowski JQ (1988) Intraneuronal and extracellular neurofibrillary tangles exhibit mutually exclusive cytoskeletal antigens. Ann Neurol 23:184–189PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Selkoe DJ, Abraham CR, Podlisny MB, Duffy LK (1986) Isolation of low-molecular-weight proteins from amyloid plaque fibers in Alzheimer's disease. J Neurochem 46:1820–1834PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Terry RD, Wisniewski H (1970) The ultrastructure of the neurofibrillary tangle and the senile plaque. In: Wolstenholme GEW, O'Connor M (eds) Alzheimer's disease and related conditions. Churchill, London, pp 145–168Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wisniewski HM, Merz PA, Iqbal K (1984) Ultrastructure of paired helical filaments of Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 43:643–656PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yagishita S, Itoh Y, Wang Nan, Amano N (1981) Reappraisal of the fine structure of Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles. Acta Neuropathol 54:239–246PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yamaguchi H, Morimatsu M, Hirai S, Takahashi K (1987) Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles are penetrated by astroglial processes and appear eosinophilic in their final stages. Acta Neuropathol 72:214–217PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Ikeda
    • 1
  • C. Haga
    • 1
  • S. Oyanagi
    • 2
  • S. Iritani
    • 3
  • K. Kosaka
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of NeuropathologyPsychiatric Research Institute of TokyoSetagaya-ku, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of UltrastructurePsychiatric Research Institute of TokyoSetagaya-ku, TokyoJapan
  3. 3.Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa HospitalSetagaya-ku, TokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and NeurologyYokohama City University School of MedicineKanazawa-ku, YokohamaJapan

Personalised recommendations