Accumulation of beta-amyloid precursor protein and ubiquitin in axons after spinal cord trauma in humans: immunohistochemical observations on autopsy material

Acta Neuropathol. 1996 Jul;92(1):49-55. doi: 10.1007/s004010050488.


We evaluated by immunohistochemistry the presence of beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta APP) and ubiquitin-like material which may accumulate in axons of the human spinal cord subjected to injury. Autopsy material was obtained from nine cases with different types of trauma: breech delivery with neonatal spinal injury, compression of the cord induced by fractures of the vertebral column, haematomas or intradural meningioma. The posttrauma period ranged from 10 days to several years. The spinal cord of six control cases without evidence of injury presented beta APP immunoreactivity in nerve cell bodies and in a few axonal profiles but not in dendrites. Seven of the nine cases with spinal cord trauma showed an accumulation of beta APP-immunoreactive material in axons of the longitudinal tracts at the site of the injury. Five cases presented similar axonal immunoreactivity in the grey matter of the cord. Ubiquitin-like immunoreactivity was present in expanded axons in cases with spinal cord injury. Cases with spinal cord trauma thus present beta APP-immunoreactive axons particularly of the longitudinal tracts in the same way as in trauma to rat spinal cord and in various brain injuries. The aggregation of beta APP-immunoreactive material indicates disturbed axonal transport of beta APP. Accumulation of ubiquitin-like immunoreactive material in expanded axons at the site of trauma may be one prerequisite for degradation of abnormal proteins by the ubiquitin-mediated proteolytic pathway.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / analysis*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology*
  • Ubiquitins / analysis*
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Ubiquitins