Expression of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-synuclein in glial tumors and medulloblastomas

Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Aug;106(2):167-75. doi: 10.1007/s00401-003-0718-x. Epub 2003 May 28.


alpha-, beta- and gamma-synuclein are highly homologous proteins that are found predominantly in neurons. Abnormal accumulation of synucleins has been associated with diseases of the central nervous system particularly Parkinson's disease. Immunoreactivity of alpha-synuclein is demonstrated in brain tumors with neuronal differentiation and in schwannomas, whereas gamma-synuclein has been demonstrated in breast and ovarian carcinomas. The immunoreactivity of synucleins has not been described in glial tumors. Immunoreactivity of synucleins in glial cells in culture and in pathological conditions, however, suggests that synucleins may be expressed by glial tumors. We studied the expression of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-synuclein in 84 human brain tumors (24 ependymomas, 31 astrocytomas, 8 oligodendrogliomas, and 21 medulloblastomas) by immunohistochemistry. Our study demonstrates immunoreactivity for gamma-synuclein in high-grade glial tumors; immunoreactivity is found in all anaplastic ependymomas but in only 33% of ependymomas and 16% of myxopapillary ependymomas. Immunoreactivity for gamma-synuclein is noted in 63% of glioblastomas but not in other astrocytic tumors. Of medulloblastomas, 76% have immunoreactivity for either alpha- or beta-synuclein or both; no immunoreactivity for gamma-synuclein is seen in medulloblastomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ependymoma / metabolism
  • Ependymoma / pathology
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism*
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / metabolism
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / pathology
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology
  • Synucleins
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • beta-Synuclein
  • gamma-Synuclein


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