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, 140 (3), 691-707

Immunologic Reactions in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Brain and Spinal Cord Tissue


Immunologic Reactions in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Brain and Spinal Cord Tissue

T Kawamata et al. Am J Pathol.


Expression of proteins associated with immune function was investigated immunohistochemically in postmortem brain and spinal cord of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Reactive microglia/macrophages displaying high levels of leukocyte common antigen (LCA), the immunoglobulin receptor Fc gamma R1, lymphocyte function associated molecule-1 (LFA-1), the complement receptors CR3 and CR4, the class II major histocompatibility complex molecules HLA-DR, HLA-DP and HLA-DQ and common determinants of the class I HLA-A,B,C complex were abundant in affected areas in ALS. These areas included the primary motor cortex, motor nuclei of the brain stem, the anterior horn of the spinal cord, and the full extent of the corticospinal tract. A significant number of T lymphocytes of the helper/inducer (CD4+) and cytotoxic/suppressor (CD8+) subtypes were observed marginating along the walls of capillaries and venules and extending into the parenchyma of affected areas. Clusters of complement activated oligodendroglia as well as degenerating neurites positive for C3d and C4d were frequently detected in ALS-affected areas. These data provide evidence of immune-effector changes in ALS. They are consistent with an autoimmune or slow virus theory of the disorder, but may reflect only secondary changes.

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