Mice carrying the P301 mutation in tau, which causes human frontotemporal dementia, develop neurofibrillary pathology with features mimicking those of human tauopathies, report scientists at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville in the August issue of Nature Genetics. Michael Hutton and colleagues found an age- and gene-dose dependent development of NFTs, occurring as early as 6.5 months in hemizygous and 4.5 months in homozygous animals. NFTs and Pick-body-like neuronal inclusions were observed in the amygdala, septal nuclei, pre-optic nuclei, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, medulla, deep cerebellar nuclei and spinal cord, with tau immunoreactive pretangles in the cortex, hippocampus and basal ganglia. Areas with the most NFTs also exhibited reactive gliosis.—June Kinoshita


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  1. . Neurofibrillary tangles, amyotrophy and progressive motor disturbance in mice expressing mutant (P301L) tau protein. Nat Genet. 2000 Aug;25(4):402-5. PubMed.