Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 189–196 | Cite as

Cytochemistry of brain amyloid in adult dementia

  • R. M. Torack
  • R. G. Lynch
Original Works


A cytochemical study of 14 cases of adult dementia revealed the presence of gamma globulin in the amyloid of three cases of congophilic angiopathy by means of immunofluorescence microscopy. In these cases, the additional identification of human albumin is regarded to indicate a non-specific macromolecular leak in the blood-brain barrier. Both reactions are inhibited by prior absorption with the appropriate serum protein. Twelve of the 14 cases had congophilic amyloid deposits which were not affected by permanganate pre-treatment, so that immunoglobulin content remains a possiblity, despite the negative immune reaction. Alcianophilia was studied at a varying pH and electrolyte concentration, but these findings do not appear to have nosologic significance. The three positive cases are characterized by a rapid terminal decline. The heterogeneity of amyloid and the significance of immunoamyloid in the pathogenesis of adult dementia is discussed.

Key words

Adult dementia Amyloid Gamma globulin Blood-brain barrier Congophilic angiopathy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Divry P (1927) Etude histochimique des plaques seniles. J Belge Neurol 27:643–657Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Glenner GG, Page DL (1976) Amyloid, amyloidosis, and amyloidogenesis. Int Rev Exp Pathol 15:1–92Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Glenner GG, Eanes ED, Bladen HA, Linke RP, Termine JD (1974) β-Pleated sheet fibrils. A comparison of native amyloid with synthetic protein fibrils. J Histochem Cytochem 22:1141–1158Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Glenner GG, Eanes ED, Page DL (1972) The relation of the properties of congo red-stained amyloid fibrils to the β-confirmation. J Histochem Cytochem 20:821–826Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Glenner GG, Terry W, Harada M, Isersky C, Page D (1971) Amyloid fibril proteins: proof of homology with immunoglobulin light chains by sequence analysis. Science 172:1150–1151Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Huang S, Minassian H, More JD (1976) Application of immunofluorescent staining on paraffin sections improved by trypsin digestion. Lab Invest 35:383–390Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ishii T, Haga S, Shimizu F (1975) Identification of components of immunoglobulins in senile plaques by means of fluorescent antibody technique. Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 32:157–162Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Johnson GD, Holborow EJ (1976) Immunofluorescence. In: Weir DM (ed) Handbook of experimental immunology, vol 18. Blackwell, London, pp 1–20Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lampert PW (1968) Amyloid and amyloid-like deposits. In: Minckler J (ed) Pathology of the nervous system, vol 1. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp 1113–1121Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lee SS, Stemmermann GN (1978) Congophilic angiopathy and cerebral hemorrhage. Arch Pathol Lab Med 102:387–321Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mandybur TI (1979) Cerebral amyloid angiopathy: possible relationship to rheumatoid vasculitis. Neurology 29:1336–1340Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Miller HRP (1972) Fixation and tissue preservation for antibody studies. Histochem J 4:305–320Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mowry RW, Scott JE (1967) Observations on the basophilia of amyloids. Histochemie 10:8–32Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nikaido T, Austin J, Rinehart R, Trueb L, Hutchinson J, Stukenbrok H, Miles B (1971) Studies in aging of the brain. Isolation and preliminary characterization of Alzheimer plaques and cores. Arch Neurol 25:198–211Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pearse AGE, Ewen SWB, Polak JM (1972) The genesis of apudamyloid in endocrine polypeptide tumors: Histochemical distinction from immunoamyloid. Virchows Arch B (Cell Pathol) 10:93–107Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Powers JM, Skeen JT (1980) An immunoperoxidase study of neuritic plaques. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 39:385Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Powers JM, Spicer SS (1977) Histochemical similarity of senile plaque amyloid to apudamyloid. Virchows Arch A (Pathol Anat) 376:107–115Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pras M, Nevo Z, Schubert M, Rotman J, Matalon R (1971) The significance of mucopolysaccharides in amyloid. J Histochem Cytochem 19:443–448Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pras M, Zucker-Franklin D, Rimon A, Franklin EC (1969) Physical, chemical, and ultrastructural studies of water-soluble human amyloid fibrils. J Exp Med 47:777–791Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Qualman SJ, Keren DF (1979) Immunofluoresence of deparaffinized trypsin-treated renal tissues. Lab Invest 41:483–489Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    van Rijswijk MH, van Heusden WGJ (1979) The potassium permanganate method. Am J Pathol 97:43–54Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Rosenthal CJ, Franklin EC, Frangione B, Greenspan J (1976) Isolation and partial characterization of SAA — an amyloidrelated protein from human serum. J Immunol 116:1415–1418Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Scott JE, Dorling J (1965) Differential staining of acid glycosaminoglycans (mucopolysaccharides) by alcian blue in salt solutions. Histochemie 5:221–233Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Scholz W (1938) Studien zur Pathologie der Hirngefäße. II. Die drusige Entartung der Hirnarterien und Kapillaren. Z Neurol Psychiat 162:694–715Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Stiller D, Kaltenkamp D (1975) Histochemistry of amyloid. Fischer, JenaGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Torack RM (1978) The pathologic physiology of dementia. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Torack RM (1975) Congophilic angiopathy complicated by surgery and massive hemorrhage. Am J Pathol 81:349–366Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wisniewski HM, Bruce ME, Fraser H (1975) Infectious etiology of neuritic (senile) plaques in mice. Science 190:1108–1110Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wright JR, Calkins E, Humphrey RL (1977) Potassium permanganate reaction in amyloidosis. Lab Invest 36:274–281Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Torack
    • 1
  • R. G. Lynch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations