Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 495–508 | Cite as

The Lewy Body in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders

  • Koichi Wakabayashi
  • Kunikazu Tanji
  • Saori Odagiri
  • Yasuo Miki
  • Fumiaki Mori
  • Hitoshi Takahashi


The histopathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the presence of fibrillar aggregates referred to as Lewy bodies (LBs), in which α-synuclein is a major constituent. Pale bodies, the precursors of LBs, may serve the material for that LBs continue to expand. LBs consist of a heterogeneous mixture of more than 90 molecules, including PD-linked gene products (α-synuclein, DJ-1, LRRK2, parkin, and PINK-1), mitochondria-related proteins, and molecules implicated in the ubiquitin–proteasome system, autophagy, and aggresome formation. LB formation has been considered to be a marker for neuronal degeneration because neuronal loss is found in the predilection sites for LBs. However, recent studies have indicated that nonfibrillar α-synuclein is cytotoxic and that fibrillar aggregates of α-synuclein (LBs and pale bodies) may represent a cytoprotective mechanism in PD.


α-Synuclein Lewy body Pale body Parkinson’s disease Presynapse 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koichi Wakabayashi
    • 1
  • Kunikazu Tanji
    • 1
  • Saori Odagiri
    • 1
  • Yasuo Miki
    • 1
  • Fumiaki Mori
    • 1
  • Hitoshi Takahashi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Brain ScienceHirosaki University Graduate School of MedicineHirosakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Brain Research InstituteUniversity of NiigataNiigataJapan

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