Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase (PGP 9.5) is selectively present in ubiquitinated inclusion bodies characteristic of human neurodegenerative diseases

J Pathol. 1990 Jun;161(2):153-60. doi: 10.1002/path.1711610210.


The recent discovery that brain PGP 9.5 is a ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase suggests that the role of this protein should be studied in relation to ubiquitinated cellular inclusions characteristic of several chronic human degenerative diseases. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-processed sections known to contain ubiquitin-protein conjugate immunoreactivity in cortical Lewy bodies, neurofibrillary tangles, Rosenthal fibres, Pick bodies, spinal inclusions in motor neurone disease, and Mallory's hyaline in alcoholic liver disease were immunostained to localize PGP 9.5. The majority of cortical Lewy bodies in diffuse Lewy body disease showed immunoreactivity for PGP 9.5. In Alzheimer's disease, only a minority of loosely arranged globose-type neurofibrillary tangles were immunostained together with a minority of neurites surrounding senile plaques. In cerebellar astrocytomas, the periphery of the majority of Rosenthal fibers was immunostained in addition to strong diffuse cytoplasmic immunostaining in some astrocytes lacking apparent Rosenthal fibers. In Pick's disease, there was no immunostaining of inclusions but there was intense immunostaining of swollen Pick cells. No spinal inclusions in motor neurone disease were stained; however, anterior horn neurones appear to show increased levels of PGP 9.5 compared with those from control cases. No immunostaining of hepatic Mallory's hyaline was demonstrable, which accords with suggestions that PGP 9.5 is a tissue-specific ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase isoenzyme. The differential detection of a ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase in different forms of ubiquitinated inclusion body in the nervous system may form the basis of a method for assessment of the staging of inclusion body biogenesis and give insight into the dynamics of inclusion body formation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology
  • Astrocytoma / enzymology
  • Brain Diseases / enzymology*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Dementia / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies / enzymology*
  • Motor Neurons
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / enzymology
  • Neuropeptides / analysis*
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / analysis*
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase


  • Neuropeptides
  • Thiolester Hydrolases
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase