Henryk Wisniewski (1931-1999): His scientific career and his valuable contribution in the research of Alzheimer's disease

Henry Wisniewski is the most eminent neuroscientist of the 20th century. His research contributions, in a period of almost forty years, was mostly focussed on Alzheimer's disease, myelin pathology, aluminium intoxication, brain edema, blood brain barrier disruption and various forms of neurodegeneration. Henry was born in Poland in 1931 and died in USA in 1999. His scientific career started in Warsaw in the laboratory of the world-renowned Adam Opalski, where he worked on brain ischemia, hydrochephalus and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system and continued in Toronto, in the laboratory of Olsewski, in Bunge Institute, where he worked on blood brain barrier permeability. From Canada Henry went to National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, in Bethesda, where he worked in Igor Klatzo laboratory on brain edema, introducing a new classification, and on aluminium induced model of neurofibrillary degeneration. In 1966 Henry was appointed as a Research Fellow by Robert Terry at Albert Einstein School of Medicine where he continued his aluminium studies and worked in electron microscopy on the ultrastructural morphology of neurofibrillary tangles and in collaboration with Raine and Prineas proceeded to ultrastructural analysis of demyelination. Henry became full Professor in 1969. In 1974 he was appointed as the Director of the Demyelination Research Unit, in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. The following year Henry returned to USA been appointed as Director of the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, where he stayed until his death. Under Henry's direction the Basic Research Institute became one of the most important Institute of Neuroscience in the World and the world leading Institute of the Research in Alzheimer's disease.

Henry Wisniewski has been the mentor of a multitude of neuroscientists, all over the world, who were encouraged, directed and beneficed by him in their research on Alzheimer's disease. Henry authored and co-authored more than 700 scientific publications most of them relating to neuropathology, which have very high impact in the research of Alzheimer's disease.

Henry Wisniewski's major contribution to Alzheimer's disease research include the aluminium model of neurofibrillary degeneration, the documentation of neuropathological changes in aging and experimentally induced conditions, the confirmation of Kidd's model of the ultrastructure of PHFs by means of tilt stage electron microscopy, the clarification of the role that microglia cells, perivascular cells and myocytes play in the formation of (-amyloid, the structural characterization of plaque pathogenesis, the research of the (-protein fibrinogenesis in Alzheimer's disease and in experimental models, the very important hypothesis that behind (-amyloidosis and neurofibrillary degeneration, there may be a common aetiological factor, such as insufficiency of mitochondrial activity, which affects the phosphorylation of T protein and the metabolism to APP.

Henry Wisniewski has been honoured with the highest academic distinctions and awards. He was named Neuropathologist of the Twentieth Century in the Tenth International Congress of Neuropathologist and he received a special award during the opening session of the Fourth International Conference on Alzheimer's disease in Minneapolis.

I have the feeling that the highest honour of Henry is the deep esteem and the permanent admiration of the neuroscientist all over the world for his unique contribution to research of Alzheimer's disease.