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      Relative Roles of Plaques and Tangles in the Dementia of Alzheimer's Disease: Correlations Using Three Sets of Neuropathological Criteria

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          Abstract

          We have performed a quantitative analysis of the amyloid load (plaques), neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) in the frontal, temporal and parietal association cortices of autopsied brains from 49 prospectively evaluated patients with Alzheimer''s disease (AD) diagnosed according to three sets of published pathological criteria. These patients had been assessed clinically with psychological testing of cognitive abilities within 6 months of death. Correlations were sought between severity of pathological change and cognitive status before death, duration of disease and age at death. Using Khachaturian and CERAD criteria highly positive correlations were obtained between the extent of cognitive deficit and the density of NFT in frontal and parietal lobes. The percentage area of cortex occupied by amyloid in the parietal lobe was correlated to the cognitive deficit only in the CERAD-diagnosed cases. The density of all amyloid plaques (AP) showed no correlation with the extent of cognitive deficit, but the densities of neuritic plaques did correlate with cognitive deficit. Both amyloid load and tangle densities were positively correlated with disease duration. All these correlations were reduced or absent in a sub-group of cases fulfilling the Tierney et al. A3 diagnostic criteria for AD. We found no pathological measure that correlated with the age of patients at death. Amyloid loads and NFT densities showed highly significant but selective positive correlations, the most striking being between temporal lobe NFT density and frontal and parietal lobe amyloid load and between temporal lobe NFT density and frontal and parietal lobe NFT densities. Correlations involving AP density as a measure of amyloid load were almost always less significant than those involving the percentage area of cortex occupied by amyloid, suggesting that the latter measures amyloid load more accurately. However, the highest correlations of NFT densities were with neuritic plaque densities. Overall this study highlights the relevance of neuritic changes (revealed by NFT and neuritic plaques) and the irrelevance of amyloid plaques to the dementia of AD.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          DEM
          Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord
          10.1159/issn.1420-8008
          Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
          S. Karger AG
          1420-8008
          1421-9824
          1995
          1995
          26 January 1995
          : 6
          : 1
          : 21-31
          Affiliations
          aDepartment of Neuropathology, The Radcliffe Infirmary NHS Trust, Oxford, bOxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA), The Radcliffe Infirmary NHS Trust, Oxford, and cDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, UK
          Article
          106918 Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 1995;6:21–31
          10.1159/000106918
          © 1995 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 11
          Categories
          Original Research Article

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