Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 214–217 | Cite as

Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles are penetrated by astroglial processes and appear eosinophilic in their final stages

  • H. Yamaguchi
  • M. Morimatsu
  • S. Hirai
  • K. Takahashi
Original Works


Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles (ANT) in the hippocampal area were studied immunohistochemically using antisera against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S-100 protein in 48 patients with or without dementia between 52 and 92 years old. In 27 of the 38 brains that developed ANT in the hippocampal area, some ANT were immunostained with these antisera. Flame-shaped or globose-shaped immunostains were occasionally continuous with astroglial cell bodies and processes. They appeared particularly in the entorhinal cortex, subiculum and CAl. The ANT, immunostained with GFAP and S-100 antisera, apparently correspond to slightly eosinophilic tangles in H&E sections and to less argentophilic tangles in silver-impregnated sections in all of the 27 brains. ANT of another 11 brains were consistently negative with these antisera. The GFAP-positive eosinophilic tangles were encountered in the brains of older patients (P<0.01) and with more abundant formation of ANT (P<0.001). This alteration was present in all of the 20 brains with more than 100 ANT per section and none of the eight brains with less than 10 ANT. These findings suggest that in the last stages, ANT are penetrated by eosinophilic processes of astrocytes, and appear eosinophilic, and that the presence of GFAP-positive eosinophilic tangles indicates the abundant formation of ANT.

Key words

Neurofibrillary tangles Senile dementia of Alzheimer type Glial fibrillary acidic protein Astrocytes Immunohistochemistry 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alzheimer A (1911) Über eigenartige Krankheitsfälle des späteren Alters. Z Gesamte Neurol Psychiatr 4:356–385Google Scholar
  2. Braak H, Braak E (1985) On areas of transition between entorhinal allocortex and temporal isocortex in the human brain. Normal morphology and lamina-specific pathology in Alzheimer's disease. Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 68:325–332Google Scholar
  3. Hirano A (1981) A guide to neuropathology. Igaku-Shoin, New York Tokyo, pp 144–145Google Scholar
  4. Hirano A (1976) An outline of neuropathology, 1st edn. Igaku-Shoin, Tokyo, pp 54–55Google Scholar
  5. Hyman BT, Hoesen GW van, Damasio AR, Barnes CL (1984) Alzheimer's disease: cell-specific pathology isolates the hippocampal formation. Science 225:1168–1170Google Scholar
  6. Morimatsu M, Hirai S, Muramatsu A, Yoshikawa M (1975) Senile degenerative brain lesions and dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc 23:390–406Google Scholar
  7. Nakazato Y, Ishizeki J, Takahashi T, Yamaguchi H, Kamei T, Mori T (1982) Localization of S-100 protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein-related antigen in pleomorphic adenoma of the salivary glands. Lab Invest 46:621–626Google Scholar
  8. Okamoto K, Hirano A, Yamaguchi H, Hirai S (1983) The fine structure of eosinophilic stages of Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles. J Clin Electron Microsc 16:77–82Google Scholar
  9. Probst A, Ulrich J, Heitz Phu (1982) Senile dementia of Alzheimer type: a astroglial reaction to extracellular neurofibrillary tangles in the hippocampus. An immunocytochemical and electron microscopic study. Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 57:75–79Google Scholar
  10. Sternberger LA (1979) Immunohistochemistry, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York Chichester Brisbane Tronto, pp 129–172Google Scholar
  11. Takahashi K, Yamaguchi H, Ishizeki, J, Nakajima T, Nakazato Y (1981) Immunohistochemical and immunoelectron microscopic localization of S-100 protein in the interdigitating reticulum cells of the human lymph node. Virchows Arch [Cell Pathol] 37:125–135Google Scholar
  12. Yamaguchi H (1980) Studies on the immunohistochemical localization of S-100 and glial fibrillary acidic proteins in the rat nervous system and in human brain tumors. Brain Nerve (Tokyo) 32:1055–1064Google Scholar
  13. Yamaguchi H, Takahashi K, Morimatsu M, Okamoto K, Hirai S (1981) Immunohistochemical studies on senile dementia. Abstr 12th World Congr Neurol, Int Congr Series 548, Excerpta Medica, pp 79–80Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Yamaguchi
    • 1
  • M. Morimatsu
    • 1
  • S. Hirai
    • 1
  • K. Takahashi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyGunma University School of MedicineMaebashi-shi, GunmaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PathologyKochi Medical SchoolNankoku-shi, KochiJapan

Personalised recommendations