Pathology of neurodegenerative diseases

Brittany N. Dugger, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Neurodegenerative disorders are characterized by progressive loss of selectively vulnerable populations of neurons, which contrasts with select static neuronal loss because of metabolic or toxic disorders. Neurodegenerative diseases can be classified according to primary clinical features (e.g., dementia, parkinsonism, or motor neuron disease), anatomic distribution of neurodegeneration (e.g., frontotemporal degenerations, extrapyramidal disorders, or spinocerebellar degenerations), or principal molecular abnormality. The most common neurodegenerative disorders are amyloidoses, tauopathies, α-synucleinopathies, and TDP-43 proteinopathies. The protein abnormalities in these disorders have abnormal conformational properties. Growing experimental evidence suggests that abnormal protein conformers may spread from cell to cell along anatomically connected pathways, which may in part explain the specific anatomical patterns observed at autopsy. In this review, we detail the human pathology of select neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on their main protein aggregates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera028035
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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