Members of families with mutations in the tau gene are known to be heterogeneous in their clinical presentation, ranging from frontotemporal dementia to a clinical picture more resembling corticobasal degeneration or progressive supranuclear palsy. In this report, we describe a new phenotype for the tau S305S mutation, previously described as progressive supranuclear palsy. Clinically, the three affected family members showed alterations in personality and behaviour as well as cognitive decline and late levodopa-resistant parkinsonian symptoms, consistent with the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. One autopsied case displayed degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes together with extensive tau pathology in both neurones and glial cells. Sarkosyl-soluble and -insoluble tau extracted from frontal cortex revealed a ratio shift with decreased levels of tau with three microtubule-binding repeats and increased levels of tau with four microtubule-binding repeats (4R tau). These findings provide further evidence for the clinical and pathological variation both within and between families with mutations in the tau gene. In addition, they support previous studies which demonstrate that the S305S mutation influences the splicing of tau exon 10 and results in an overproduction of 4R tau.
2008. Vol. 15, no 2