Neuron-specific enolase as an effective immunohistochemical marker for injured axons after fatal brain injury
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Recently, it has been reported that a diagnosis of diffuse axonal injury in cases with a short survival period can be made with the use of immunolabelling for β-amyloid precursor protein (APP). We examined whether immunostaining for neuron-specific enolase (NSE) can also be a useful marker for the detection of axonal injury in its early stages. Sections of the corpus callosum from 19 cases of head injury and from 9 cases of no head injury were immunostained for NSE and stained by the standard Holmes’ silver method. For comparison, serial sections from several cases were immunostained for APP. Immunostaining for NSE as well as for APP, labelled injured axons in head injury cases with as early as 1.5 h survival where Holmes’ staining failed to detect any changes of axons. Since NSE and APP labelled only injured axons but not normal axons, the results were readily interpretable. These findings indicate that NSE should be an effective marker for the detection of axonal injury in its early stages.
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