Synaptic pathology in Alzheimer's disease: immunological data for markers of synaptic and large dense-core vesicles

Neuroscience. 1992;46(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(92)90003-k.


We have analysed several markers for small synaptic vesicles (synaptin-synaptophysin, p65 and SV2) and large dense-core vesicles (chromogranin A, secretogranin II/chromogranin C) in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and normal controls by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. In comparison to age-matched controls the levels of all three synaptic vesicle markers were decreased in temporal cortex of Alzheimer patients. On the other hand, the levels of chromogranin A were increased, and those of secretogranin II lowered. This resulted in a significant increase of the ratios of chromogranin A to synaptophysin, p65 or SV2 and of that for chromogranin A to secretogranin II. These increases were significantly correlated to clinical severity of dementia and extent of neuropathological changes. By immunohistochemistry a high percentage of senile plaques was found to contain chromogranin A-reactive dystrophic neurites, whereas synaptophysin reactivity within plaques was rare. These results indicate that the number of synaptic vesicles is lowered in Alzheimer's disease, and that one component of large dense-core vesicles, i.e. chromogranin A, is elevated. We, thus, suggest that in Alzheimer's brain distinct changes occur for both types of synaptic organelles.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Biomarkers
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins / immunology
  • Chromogranins / metabolism
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Synapses / immunology
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptophysin / immunology
  • Synaptophysin / metabolism
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins
  • Proteins
  • Synaptophysin