Co-Existence of tau and α-synuclein pathology in fetal graft tissue at autopsy: A case report

Abbie S. Ornelas, Charles H. Adler, Geidy E. Serrano, Jasmine R. Curry, Holly A. Shill, Oleg Kopyov, Thomas G. Beach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Transplant of fetal ventral mesencephalic tissue into the striatum of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients has been performed to increase dopamine production and stimulate neuronal regeneration. Analysis of fetal graft tissue at autopsy has demonstrated 6 cases of α-synuclein pathology in PD patients, one case with both α-synuclein and tau pathology in a PD patient, and two cases of tau pathology within a Huntington's Disease patient. Methods: A 49 year old man with PD underwent bilateral fetal ventral mesencephalic cell transplants into the striatum. Autopsy at age 70 included immunohistochemical staining of host and graft tissue with antibodies to phosphorylated α-synuclein and phosphorylated tau protein. Results: Autopsy confirmed the diagnosis of PD. Immunohistochemical staining of graft tissue demonstrated frequent neuronal perikaryal inclusions of phosphorylated α -synuclein and tau in the left graft only. Conclusion: Speculations on the formation of pathology include: 1) α-synuclein and tau pathology spread from host to the graft in a neuron-neuron manner. 2) The nature of the fetal cells themselves, or transplantation process, may render fetal tissue more susceptible to the spontaneous generation of pathology. 3) Factors within host environment caused native tau and α-synuclein in fetal tissue graft to become phosphorylated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages4
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Alpha-synuclein
  • Fetal tissue transplantation
  • Lewy bodies
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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