Neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN): a new tool in the diagnosis of central neurocytoma

Pathol Res Pract. 2003;199(7):463-8. doi: 10.1078/0344-0338-00446.


The use of neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN) as a reliable neuronal marker in the differential diagnosis of clear cell neoplasms of the central nervous system was determined in a biopsy series of 23 cases. Immunohistochemical analyses were carried out by antisera against neuronal nuclear antigen, synaptophysin, neuron-specific enolase, microtubule-associated protein 2, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. All eight central neurocytomas were characteristically immunolabeled by NeuN. NeuN immunoreactivity was uniformly strong and basically located in the nuclei of neurocytes. Despite this uniform staining pattern of central neurocytomas, 12 cases of oligodendrogliomas and three cases of ependymoma were negative for NeuN. As the diagnostic criteria for central neurocytoma include immunohistochemical and/or ultrastructural evidence for neuronal differentiation, NeuN as a sensitive and specific neuronal marker in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues may greatly facilitate the differential diagnosis of central neurocytomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, Nuclear / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ependymoma / chemistry
  • Ependymoma / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurocytoma / chemistry
  • Neurocytoma / pathology*
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Oligodendroglioma / chemistry
  • Oligodendroglioma / diagnosis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins