Corticobasal syndrome with tau pathology



Six cases with a clinical corticobasal syndrome (progressive asymmetric apraxia and parkinsonism unresponsive to levodopa) and tau pathology were selected from 97 brain donors with parkinsonism. Postmortem volumetric measures of regional brain atrophy (compared with age/sex-matched controls) were correlated with clinical features and the degree of underlying cortical and subcortical histopathology. At death, no significant asymmetry of pathology was detected. All cases had prominent bilateral atrophy of the precentral gyrus (reduced by 22–54%) with other cortical regions variably affected. Subcortical atrophy was less severe and variable. Two cases demonstrated widespread atrophy of basal ganglia structures (44–60% atrophy of the internal globus pallidus) and substantial subcortical pathology consistent with a diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). The remaining four cases had typical pathology of corticobasal degeneration. In all cases, neuronal loss and gliosis corresponded with subcortical atrophy, while the density of cortical swollen neurons correlated with cortical volume loss. Atrophy of the internal globus pallidus was associated with postural instability, while widespread basal ganglia histopathology was found in cases with gaze palsy. This study confirms the involvement of the precentral gyrus in the corticobasal syndrome and highlights the variable underlying pathology in these patients. © 2001 Movement Disorder Society