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. In vivo imaging reveals dissociation between caspase activation and acute neuronal death in tangle-bearing neurons. J Neurosci. 2008 Jan 23;28(4):862-7. PubMed.

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  1. The Spires-Jones paper is a very interesting contribution that is pushing live imaging in more and more fascinating directions. The results in these transgenic mice certainly have a corollary in human studies where, for example, most neocortical neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease are contained within living neurons (Vickers et al., 2003) and that tangle-bearing neurons demonstrate no specific evidence of apoptotic degeneration (Woodhouse et al., 2006). This is not to say that the abnormalities in tau do not cause neurodegeneration, but that the detectable pathological hallmark may be associated with neuronal dysfunction which can be tolerated for long periods of time and may not necessarily result in cell death.

    References:

    . Direct determination of the proportion of intra- and extra-cellular neocortical neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease. Brain Res. 2003 May 2;971(1):135-7. PubMed.

    . No difference in expression of apoptosis-related proteins and apoptotic morphology in control, pathologically aged and Alzheimer's disease cases. Neurobiol Dis. 2006 May;22(2):323-33. PubMed.