Diminution of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1993 Aug;19(4):300-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.1993.tb00444.x.


The substantia nigra was examined immunohistochemically using the antibody to tyrosine hydroxylase in 15 patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The number of dopaminergic neurons was diminished in the substantia nigra of seven cases. The diminution was not related to the age, duration of the illness or use of respirators. Supranuclear ophthalmoplegia developed in four and dementia in three out of seven patients with reduction of nigral dopaminergic neurons. In addition, five out of the seven patients developed respiratory failure within 2 years after the onset of the illness. The nigral dopaminergic system may be involved in rapidly progressive ALS patients with supranuclear ophthalmoplegia and/or dementia.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Ophthalmoplegia / etiology
  • Ophthalmoplegia / pathology
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology*
  • Tissue Fixation
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / immunology


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine