Clustering patterns of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s disease

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clustering of cellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) was studied in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus in cases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using a regression method. The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that clustering of NFTs reflects the degeneration of the cortico-cortical pathways. In 25/38 (66%) of analyses of individual brain areas, a significant peak to trough and peak to peak distance was obtained suggesting that the clusters of NFTs were regularly distributed in bands parallel to the tissue boundary. In analyses of cortical tissues with regularly distributed clusters, peak to peak distance was between 1000 and 1600 microns in 13/24 (54%) of analyses, >1600 microns in 10/24 (42%) and <1000 microns in 1/24 (4%) of analyses. A regular distribution of NFT clusters was less evident in the CA sectors of the hippocampus than in the cortex. Hence, in a significant proportion of brain areas, the spacing of NFT clusters along the cerebral cortex was consistent with the predicted distribution of the cells of origin of specific cortico-cortical projections. However, in many brain regions, the sizes of the NFT clusters were larger than predicted which may be attributable to the spread of NFTs to adjacent groups of cells as the disease progresses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
JournalAlzheimers Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • clustering
  • cortico-cortical projections
  • neurofibrillary tangles
  • pattern analysis


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