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α-Internexin aggregates are abundant in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) but rare in other neurodegenerative diseases

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Abstract

Abnormal neuronal aggregates of α-internexin and the three neurofilament (NF) subunits, NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H have recently been identified as the pathological hallmarks of neuronal intermediate filament (IF) inclusion disease (NIFID), a novel neurological disease of early onset with a variable clinical phenotype including frontotemporal dementia, pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs. α-Internexin, a class IV IF protein, a major component of inclusions in NIFID, has not previously been identified as a component of the pathological protein aggregates of any other neurodegenerative disease. Therefore, to determine the specificity of this protein, α-internexin immunohistochemistry was undertaken on cases of NIFID, non-tau frontotemporal dementias, motor neuron disease, α-synucleinopathies, tauopathies, and normal aged control brains. Our results indicate that class IV IF proteins are present within the pleomorphic inclusions of all cases of NIFID. Small subsets of abnormal neuronal inclusions in Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body diseases, and motor neuron disease also contain epitopes of α-internexin. Thus, α-internexin is a major component of the neuronal inclusions in NIFID and a relatively minor component of inclusions in other neurodegenerative diseases. The discovery of α-internexin in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions implicates novel mechanisms of pathogenesis in NIFID and other neurological diseases with pathological filamentous neuronal inclusions.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. D. Munoz for tissue samples and the staff of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research of the University of Pennsylvania for technical support, and we thank the families of patients whose generosity made this research possible. Support for this work was provided by grants from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (AG-09215, AG-10124, AG-17586 to V.M.-Y.L. and J.Q.T., and AG-10130 and ES12068 to M.G.), and from the Wellcome Trust (GR066166AIA) to N.J.C. V.M.-Y.L. is the John H. Ware, 3rd Professor of Alzheimer’s Research and J.Q.T. is the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr. M.D., Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

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Correspondence to Nigel J. Cairns.

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Cairns, N.J., Uryu, K., Bigio, E.H. et al. α-Internexin aggregates are abundant in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) but rare in other neurodegenerative diseases. Acta Neuropathol 108, 213–223 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-004-0882-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-004-0882-7

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