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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lesions in the pulvinar in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus has been implicated in visual attention and in the control of eye movements, and may also help mediate attention-dependent tasks in the auditory and somatosensory systems. Consequently, a hypothetical disruption of functions mediated by the pulvinar may help understand common visual and nonvisual symptoms in patients with Alzheimer's disease. To test this hypothesis, the pulvinar nuclei of nine patients with histologically confirmed Alzheimer's disease and twelve young (9-28 years of age) and age-matched controls (without dementia and with non-Alzheimer dementias) were examined using a battery of histopathological methods. All patients with Alzheimer's disease had numerous amyloid plaques and some neuritic plaques throughout the various subdivisions of the pulvinar. Neuropil threads were also present among the senile plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles occurred in clusters throughout the nucleus. Control patients with and without dementia had very few Alzheimer lesions, which should be expected in normal elderly individuals. The lesions in the pulvinar may help understand some of the clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease, including deficits in attention and in a host of visual disturbances. Such deficits may be the result of involvement of reciprocal thalamo-cortical and corticothalamo-cortical circuits that appear to be critical for the function of a vast expanse of association cortices interconnected with the pulvinar, which are heavily laden with lesions themselves.[1]


  1. Lesions in the pulvinar in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Kuljis, R.O. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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