Tubulin immunoreactive neuronal intranuclear inclusions in the human brain

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2000 Apr;26(2):161-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2990.2000.026002161.x.


Intranuclear filamentous and crystalline inclusion bodies have been described in the nuclei of a variety of cells in both normal and pathological states. The functional significance of these structures remains to be elucidated. Moreover, although the proteinaceous nature of these inclusions has been inferred in some histochemical studies, the identity of their constituent proteins remains to be determined. In the present study, immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the presence of intranuclear inclusions in neurones of the human brain which are intensely immunoreactive for the neuronal cytoskeletal protein class III beta tubulin. The ability to label these structures immunohistochemically was exploited to investigate the topographic pattern of distribution of these inclusions in the human brain. Intranuclear inclusions were rod-shaped, polygonal, or irregular in shape. They were present in neurones and ependymal cells. Intranuclear inclusion-bearing neurones were distributed in an anatomically heterogeneous pattern in the brain. Areas exhibiting relatively high densities of inclusions included the substantia inominata and anterior olfactory nucleus, dentate gyrus, substantia nigra, inferior olivary nucleus, and dentate nucleus of the cerebellum. In addition, intranuclear inclusions were prevalent in neurones in layers II, V, and VI of the cerebral cortex. They were particularly prevalent in the mesial basal temporal neocortex. The relationship of these structures to the intranuclear rods and sheets of the classical microscopists is uncertain. The demonstration that they are composed, at least in part, of tubulin, a major cytoskeletal protein, provides important clues regarding the mechanisms underlying their formation and provides a springboard for developing hypotheses regarding their functional significance. Furthermore, the ability to demonstrate these inclusions immunohistochemically provides an avenue for further studies directed at elucidating the potential involvement of these inclusions in various pathological settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry*
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Tubulin / analysis*
  • Tubulin / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Tubulin