Abnormal distribution of the non-Abeta component of Alzheimer's disease amyloid precursor/alpha-synuclein in Lewy body disease as revealed by proteinase K and formic acid pretreatment

Takeda, A.; Hashimoto, M.; Mallory, M.; Sundsumo, M.; Hansen, L.; Sisk, A.; Masliah, E.

Laboratory Investigation; a Journal of Technical Methods and Pathology 78(9): 1169-1177


ISSN/ISBN: 0023-6837
PMID: 9759660
Document Number: 488426
The precursor of the non-Abeta component of Alzheimer's disease amyloid (NACP) (also known as alpha-synuclein) is a presynaptic terminal molecule that abnormally accumulates in the plaques of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in the Lewy bodies (LBs) of Lewy body variant of AD, diffuse Lewy body disease, and Parkinson's disease. To better understand the distribution of NACP/alpha-synuclein and its fragments in the LB-bearing neurons and neurites, as well as to clarify the patterns of NACP/alpha-synuclein compartmentalization, we studied NACP/alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity using antibodies against the C-terminal, N-terminal, and NAC regions after Proteinase K and formic acid treatment in the cortex of patients with LBs. Furthermore, studies of the subcellular localization of NACP/alpha-synuclein within LB-bearing neurons were performed by immunogold electron microscopy. These studies showed that the N-terminal antibody immunolabeled the LBs and dystrophic neurites with great intensity and, to a lesser extent, the synapses. In contrast, the C-terminal antibody strongly labeled the synapses and, to a lesser extent, the LBs and dystrophic neurites. Whereas Proteinase K treatment enhanced NACP/alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity with the C-terminal antibody, it diminished the N-terminal NACP/alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity. Furthermore, formic acid enhanced LB and dystrophic neurite labeling with both the C- and N-terminal antibodies. In addition, whereas without pretreatment only slight anti-NAC immunoreactivity was found in the LBs, formic acid pretreatment revealed an extensive anti-NAC immunostaining of LBs, plaques, and glial cells. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that NACP/alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity was diffusely distributed within the amorphous electrodense material in the LBs and as small clusters in the filaments of LBs and neurites. These results support the view that aggregated NACP/alpha-synuclein might play an important role in the pathogenesis of disorders associated with LBs.

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