In the same year as Alzheimer described the case of Auguste D. as a peculiar disease of the cerebral cortex, Fischer published his classic paper about miliary plaque formation in a large number of brains from patients with senile dementia [1]. In this paper and a following one from 1910, Fischer stated that plaque formation is the result of the deposition of a peculiar foreign substance in the cortex that induces a regenerative response of the surrounding nerve fibers [2]. He described spindle-shaped thickening of nerve fibers terminating with club forms in the corona of plaques (Fig. 4.1). These altered nerve fibers were considered as axonal sprouting, and the terminal club forms showed a strong similarity with the clubshaped buddings of axons found in developing nerve fibers and after transections of peripheral nerves as described by Cajal some years earlier. According to Fischer, the crucial step of the plaque formation is the deposition of a foreign substance that provokes a local inflammatory response step followed by a regenerative response of the surrounding nerve fibers. However, Fischer could not find morphological characteristics of an inflammatory process around the plaques after extensive histopathological observations including complement binding studies. The only tissue reaction appeared to be an overgrowth of club-formed neurites.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbeta Peptide and Alzheimer's Disease
Subtitle of host publicationCelebrating a Century of Research
PublisherSpringer London
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)1852339616, 9781852339616
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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