, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 151-165
Date: 19 Jul 2013

Presence of a neo-epitope and absence of amyloid beta and tau protein in degenerative hippocampal granules of aged mice

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Clustered pathological granules related to a degenerative process appear and increase progressively with age in the hippocampus of numerous mouse strains. We describe herein the presence of a neo-epitope of carbohydrate nature in these granules, which is not present in other brain areas and thus constitutes a new marker of these degenerative structures. We also found that this epitope is recognised by a contaminant IgM present in several antibodies obtained from mouse ascites and from both mouse and rabbit sera. These findings entail the need to revise the high number of components that are thought to be present in the granules, such as the controversial β-amyloid peptides described in the granules of senescence-accelerated mouse prone-8 (SAMP8) mice. Characterisation of the composition of SAMP8 granules, taking into account the presence of the neo-epitope and the contaminant IgM, showed that granules do not contain either β-amyloid peptides or tau protein. The presence of the neo-epitope in the granules but not in other brain areas opens up a new direction in the study of the neurodegenerative processes associated with age. The SAMP8 strain, in which the progression of the granules is enhanced, may be a useful model for this purpose.