Substantia Nigra decreased pigmentation in Parkinson Disease

The substantia nigra (literal translation: “black substance”) is a portion of the midbrain that contains pigmented dopamine-producing neurons.  Degeneration of these cells causes relative depigmentation the substantia nigra, representing a finding that is typical of Parkinson Disease, but may also be present in other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer Disease. Shown here is the basal... Continue Reading →

Globose Neurofibrillary Tangle

Neurodegenerative diseases commonly have abnormal protein inclusions that ultimately contribute to neuron death.  One such example is abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau protein, the major component of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are a key microscopic feature of Alzheimer Disease and lesser known neurodegenerative diseases, such as Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD).  Like water in a vase, an NFT will assume the shape of the cell in which it arises.  For example, the classic... Continue Reading →

Alzheimer Disease: Tau-Positive Neurofibrillary Tangles

Neurofibrillary tangles, like the one shown here, are composed of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins.  Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular amyloid plaques comprise the two characteristic neuropathologic findings of Alzheimer Disease, the most common neurodegenerative disease associated with progressive memory loss.  This image was taken from an area of the brain that is often affected in Alzheimer Disease: the hippocampus, which is a... Continue Reading →

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