[Brain lesions, pathogenic and etiologic hypotheses of Alzheimer's disease].Rev Prat. 1998 Nov 01; 48(17):1873-8.RP
The main lesions of Alzheimer's disease are: 1. amyloid deposits, labelled by antibodies directed against the A beta peptide (core of the senile plaques, diffuse deposits and amyloid angiopathy), 2. neurofibrillary lesions labelled by anti-tau antibodies (neurofibrillary tangles, neuropil threads, crown of the senile plaques) and 3. loss of neurons and synapses. The distribution of neurofibrillary pathology is hierarchical: they begin in the entorhinal cortex, progress along the anterograde corticocortical pathways toward the multimodal and unimodal associative cortices to reach, in the most severe cases, the primary cortices. Amyloid lesions are more diffuse, rapidly affecting all the cortical areas. The density of neurofibrillary tangles in the cerebral cortex is correlated with the severity of dementia. Neuritic plaques, synaptic and neuronal loss also contribute to the intellectual deterioration. There are various causes of Alzheimer's disease (several mutations, trisomy 21, repeated head trauma as in dementia pugilistica): it should be considered a syndrome. Its pathophysiology is complex and involves several proteins (e.g. amyloid protein precursor, tau protein, presenilins 1 and 2, and apolipoprotein E).