Accumulation of α-synuclein/NACP is a cytopathological feature common to Lewy body disease and multiple system atrophy
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Recently, we have shown that the precursor of the non-Aβ component of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid (NACP), also known as α-synuclein, is a major component of Lewy bodies (LBs) as well as neuronal and glial cytoplasmic inclusions in multiple system atrophy (MSA). To elucidate whether the accumulation of NACP is specific to LB disease and MSA, we further studied 83 autopsied cases with various neurological disorders, using anti-NACP antibodies. In LB disease, NACP immunoreactivity was present in all of the LBs and Lewy neurites in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, the pale bodies in the substantia nigra, and dystrophic neurites in the hippocampal CA2/3 region. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that the reaction product was localized within filamentous structures and associated granular structures. In MSA, NACP immunoreactivity was found in the intracytoplasmic inclusions of both neuronal and oligodendroglial cells, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and swollen neuronal processes. No NACP immunoreactivity was found in a variety of other neuronal or glial inclusions in other disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Pick’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, motor neuron disease and triplet-repeat diseases. These findings strongly suggest that the accumulation of NACP is a cytopathological feature common to LB disease and MSA.
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