Nigral and cortical Lewy bodies and dystrophic nigral neurites in Parkinson's disease and cortical Lewy body disease contain alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1998 Apr;57(4):334-7. doi: 10.1097/00005072-199804000-00005.


A mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene has recently been linked to some cases of familial Parkinson's disease (PD). We characterized the expression of this presynaptic protein in the midbrain, striatum, and temporal cortex of control, PD, and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) brain. Control brain showed punctate pericellular immunostaining. PD brain demonstrated alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity in nigral Lewy bodies, pale bodies and abnormal neurites. Rare neuronal soma in PD brain were immunoreactive for alpha-synuclein. DLB cases demonstrated these findings as well as alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity in cortical Lewy bodies and CA2-3 neurites. These results suggest that, even in sporadic cases, there is an early and direct role for alpha-synuclein in the pathogenesis of PD and the neuropathologically related disorder DLB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Dementia / metabolism
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lewy Bodies / metabolism*
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurites / metabolism*
  • Neurites / pathology
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism*
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Synaptophysin / metabolism
  • Synucleins
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • SNCA protein, human
  • Synaptophysin
  • Synucleins
  • Ubiquitins
  • alpha-Synuclein