Semin Neurol 2015; 35(01): 020-028
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1545080
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Neurodegenerative Consequence of Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury

Patrick T. Kiernan
1   Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
,
Philip H. Montenigro
1   Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
2   Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
,
Todd M. Solomon
1   Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
3   Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
4   Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Boston, Massachusetts
,
Ann C. McKee
1   Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
3   Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
4   Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center, Boston, Massachusetts
5   VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
6   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Science, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
25 February 2015 (online)

Abstract

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that develops as a result of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is characterized by a unique pattern of accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau in neurons and astrocytes. The tau abnormalities begin focally and perivascularly at the depths of the cerebral sulci, spread to the superficial layers of the adjacent cortex, and eventually become widespread throughout the medial temporal lobes, diencephalon, and brainstem. Abnormalities in 43 kDa TAR DNA-binding protein are also found in most cases of CTE. To date, CTE can only be diagnosed by postmortem neuropathological examination, although there are many ongoing research studies examining imaging techniques and biomarkers that might prove to have diagnostic utility. Currently, the incidence and prevalence of CTE are unknown, although great strides are being made to better understand the clinical symptoms and signs of CTE. Further research is critically needed to better identify the genetic and environmental risk factors for CTE as well as potential rehabilitation and therapeutic strategies.