Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: two pathological patterns shown by analysis of distribution of TDP-43-immunoreactive neuronal and glial cytoplasmic inclusions

Acta Neuropathol. 2008 Aug;116(2):169-82. doi: 10.1007/s00401-008-0385-z. Epub 2008 May 15.


A nuclear protein, 43-kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43), was recently identified as a component of the ubiquitinated inclusions (UIs) in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-U) and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS). In the present study using immunohistochemistry, we examined various regions of the nervous system in a series of 35 SALS cases using a polyclonal antibody against TDP-43. Seven of the 35 cases had disease durations of more than 10 years with artificial respiratory support (ARS; duration: 69-156 months). In all cases, TDP-43-immunoreactive (ir) neuronal and glial cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs and GCIs) were found together in many regions, including the histologically affected lower motor neuron nuclei. Cluster analysis of the distribution pattern of TDP-43-ir NCIs for cases without ARS (n = 28) identified two types (type 1, n = 16; type 2, n = 12). Type 2 was distinguished from type 1 by the presence of TDP-43-ir NCIs in the frontotemporal cortex, hippocampal formation, neostriatum and substantia nigra, and was significantly associated with dementia. Eleven of the 28 cases showed UIs in the hippocampal dentate granule cells, all of which had type-2 distribution pattern. Cases with ARS (n = 7) were also classified into the same types (type 1, n = 5; type 2, n = 2). Cases having type-1 distribution pattern (n = 21) showed no evident neuronal loss in most of the non-motor neuron nuclei where TDP-43-ir NCIs were present, whereas cases having type-2 distribution pattern (n = 14) often showed evident neuronal loss in the frontotemporal cortices, amygdaloid nuclei and substantia nigra. These findings indicate that SALS is a multisystem degenerative disease widely affecting both neurons and glial cells with a heterogeneous pattern of TDP-43-ir NCI distribution (SALS showing type-2 distribution pattern being closely linked to FTLD-U), and that long-term survival supported by a respirator has no apparent influence on the TDP-43 neuronal distribution pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / classification*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / metabolism*
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / pathology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ubiquitin