, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 183-197

Ultrastructure of Lewy bodies in the stellate ganglion

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The Lewy body, a characteristic nerve cell inclusion in idiopathic parkinsonism, was examined by electron microscopy in the stellate ganglion, obtained from 9 patients at autopsy. Three main forms of Lewy bodies or Lewy body-related structures were demonstrated: A. Rare filamentous Lewy bodies, similar to Lewy bodies in the central nervous system. B. Granular Lewy bodies in nerve cell processes. C. Abnormal nerve cell processes, filled with heterogenous material. Large dense core vesicles were prominent in the last 2 forms. None of these abnormalities were found in 2 control groups consisting of 9 parkinsonism cases without central nervous system Lewy bodies, and 17 cases without parkinsonism.

The filamentous Lewy body (type A) was found in the perikaryon and was surrounded by neuromelanin, whereas the other forms (type B and C) were seen in nerve cell processes.

Mitochondrial inclusions, present mainly, but not exclusively, in neuromelanin-containing cells, were not related to Lewy body formation or to parkinsonism.

Presented in part at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neuropathologists, May 30–June 2, 1975, New York, N.Y.
Supported by the Veterans Administration Medical Research Program.