Adult moyamoya disease associated with abundant phosphorylated tau accumulation in the brainstem: Report of a case with autopsy findings

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We report the case of a 72-year-old Japanese woman with moyamoya disease (MMD). She experienced her first intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) at the age of 32 years, and had nine ICHs and/or intraventricular hemorrhages during the following 40 years. Cerebral angiograms and vascular pathologies at autopsy confirmed that the patient suffered from MMD. Macroscopically, there were brown-colored changes in the subarachnoid space, mainly at the base of the brain and around the cerebellar hemispheres. Microscopically, hemosiderin deposits were observed mainly in the old hemorrhagic lesions and on the surface of the brainstem and cerebellum. Many AT8-immunoreactive neurons and neurites were observed in the pons and midbrain, mainly in the locus ceruleus and reticular formation in the midbrain. Several AT8-immunoreactive neurons and neurites were positive for Gallyas silver staining. A few tiny and short AT8-immunoreactive processes were observed in the molecular, Purkinje cell and granular layers of the cerebellum. There were a few phosphorylated tau accumulations in the cerebrum without senile plaques. Lewy pathologies and transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 kDa proteinopathy were not detected. We suspect that oxidative stress after repeated bleedings with long-term courses in the ventricles and subarachnoid space may accelerate phosphorylated tau accumulation in the brainstem. To our knowledge, this is the first report of MMD with tauopathy in the brainstem.

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