Alpha-synuclein inclusions in Alzheimer and Lewy body diseases

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2000 May;59(5):408-17. doi: 10.1093/jnen/59.5.408.


Alpha-synuclein has assumed particular neuropathological interest in the light both of its identification as a non-beta-amyloid plaque constituent in Alzheimer disease (AD), and the recent association between dominant inheritance of Parkinson disease (PD) and 2 missense mutations at positions 30 and 53 of the synuclein protein. We report a systematic study of alpha-synuclein, tau, and ubiquitin immunoreactivity in representative neurodegenerative disorders of late life. The alpha-synuclein association with Lewy bodies is variable, peripheral, and is not stable with respect to proteases or acid treatment, whereas there is no association with Pick bodies. Stable patterns of immunoreactivity included neurites and a novel inclusion body. Although there is an overlap between the presence of Lewy bodies and stable alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity, this is seen only in the presence of concomitant neuropathological features of AD. The novel alpha-synuclein inclusion body identified in pyramidal cells of the medial temporal lobe in particular was found in AD and in the Lewy body variant of AD, and was associated neither with ubiquitin nor tau protein. The inclusion is therefore neither a Lewy body nor a PHF-core body, but may be confused with the Lewy body, particularly in the Lewy body variant of AD. Abnormal processing of alpha-synuclein leading to its deposition in the form of proteolytically stable deposits is a particular feature of the intermediate stages of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / metabolism
  • Entorhinal Cortex / pathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / metabolism*
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Lewy Body Disease / metabolism*
  • Lewy Body Disease / pathology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Synucleins
  • alpha-Synuclein


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SNCA protein, human
  • Synucleins
  • alpha-Synuclein