Globular glial tauopathy caused by MAPT P301T mutation: clinical and neuropathological findings

  • M. E. ErroEmail author
  • M. V. Zelaya
  • M. Mendioroz
  • R. Larumbe
  • S. Ortega-Cubero
  • J. L. Lanciego
  • A. Lladó
  • T. Cabada
  • T. Tuñón
  • F. García-Bragado
  • M. R. Luquin
  • P. Pastor
  • I. Ferrer
Original Communication



To describe the clinical, biochemical, and neuropathological findings of an autosomal dominant globular glial tauopathy caused by the P301T mutation at the MAPT gene.


Five patients from two unrelated pedigrees underwent clinical evaluation. Genetic analysis, brain pathological examination, and biochemical analysis of tau were performed.


The patients studied were 3 men and 2 women with a mean age at onset of 52.2 years and mean disease duration of 5.2 years. Three patients presented a corticobasal syndrome, one patient an asymmetric pyramidal syndrome compatible with primary lateral sclerosis, and one patient a frontotemporal dementia. In both pedigrees (4 patients) Sanger sequencing showed the p.P301T mutation in exon 10 of the MAPT gene. Neuropathological findings consisted of atrophy of frontal and temporal lobes with marked spongiosis and astrogliosis, and abundant phosphorylated tau protein deposits in the frontal and temporal cortex, limbic area, basal ganglia, and brain stem. The most striking finding was the presence of oligodendroglial 4R phospho-tau globular positive inclusions in the white matter and cortex. Globose-type neurofibrillary neuronal tangles, and in particular astrocytic globular inclusions and coarse tufts, were present in the grey matter. Biochemical analysis of sarkosyl-insoluble fractions revealed two tau bands of 64 and 68 kDa and case-dependent bands of lower molecular weight.


This is the first pathological and biochemical study of the MAPT p.P301T mutation showing variable clinical manifestation and neuropathological phenotype of globular glial tauopathy not only among different families but also within families.


Frontotemporal dementia Corticobasal degeneration Progressive supranuclear palsy Globular glial tauopathy Genetic linkage Protein tau 



The authors thank Valle Coca and Miren Roldan for their technical support. They are also grateful for the collaboration the Neurological Tissue Bank of Navarrabiomed (Pamplona, Spain). We wish to thank T. Yohannan for editorial assistance.

Authors’ contributions

Erro ME and Ferrer I: designed and conceptualized study, analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript for intellectual content. Zelaya MV and Mendioroz M: performed and analyzed experimental work, provided administrative support and technical contributions. Larumbe R: acquired data. Ortega-Cubero S: performed experimental work and acquired data. Lanciego JL: performed experimental work. Lladó A: performed experimental work. Cabada T: acquired data. Tuñón T: revised manuscript for intellectual content. García-Bragado F: revised manuscript for intellectual content. Luquin MR: acquired data and revised manuscript for intellectual content. Pastor P: performed experimental work and reviewed the manuscript for intellectual content. All the authors reviewed the final version of the manuscript.


The study did not receive funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Consent was obtained from all participants or relatives prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurology DepartmentComplejo Hospitalario de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Pathology DepartmentComplejo Hospitalario de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Brain Bank, NavarrabiomedIdiSNA (Navarra Institute for Health Research)PamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Neuroepigenetics Laboratory-Navarrabiomed, Complejo Hospitalario de NavarraUniversidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA), IdiSNA (Navarra Institute for Health Research)PamplonaSpain
  5. 5.Neurosurgery and Neurology DepartmentHospital Universitario de BurgosBurgosSpain
  6. 6.Neurosciences DepartmentCenter for Applied Medical Research (CIMA), IdiSNA (Navarra Institute for Health Research)PamplonaSpain
  7. 7.Biomedical Network Research Centre of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED)MadridSpain
  8. 8.Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit. Neurology DepartmentIDIBAPS. Hospital ClínicBarcelonaSpain
  9. 9.Neuroradiology DepartmentComplejo Hospitalario de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  10. 10.Neurology DepartmentClínica Universidad de Navarra, IdiSNA (Navarra Institute for Health Research)PamplonaSpain
  11. 11.Movement Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital Universitari Mutua de TerrassaUniversity of Barcelona School of Medicine and Fundació per la Recerca Biomèdica i Social Mútua TerrassaTerrassaSpain
  12. 12.University of Barcelona, Bellvitge University Hospital-IDIBELL, Hospitalet de LlobregatHospitalet de LlobregatSpain

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