Kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein in spinal spheroids with motor neuron disease

J Neurol Sci. 1998 Jul 15;159(1):38-44. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(98)00137-3.


Kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein are two major molecular motors responsible for fast axonal transport. As visualized by immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies, both motors were found to be distributed throughout the cell bodies, dendrites and axons of motor neurons in normal human spinal cords. Large axonal swellings, spheroids, in the spinal cords of patients with motor neuron disease showed massive accumulation of kinesin co-localized with highly phosphorylated neurofilaments. Of 114 spheroids in five spinal cords, 87% were stained heavily with the three anti-kinesin antibodies used in this study. Cytoplasmic dynein was scarce or absent in most of the spheroids. These findings suggest that kinesin selectively accumulates in the spheroids of motor neuron axons, causing disturbance of the machinery for anterograde fast axonal transport in motor neuron disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology
  • Axons / pathology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasm / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Dyneins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesin / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / pathology*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / pathology
  • Reference Values
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*


  • Dyneins
  • Kinesin