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The Lewy body in Parkinson's disease: molecules implicated in the formation and degradation of alpha-synuclein aggregates

Koichi Wakabayashi, Kunikazu Tanji, Fumiaki Mori, Hitoshi Takahashi
Neuropathology: Official Journal of the Japanese Society of Neuropathology 2007, 27 (5): 494-506
18018486
The histological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the presence of fibrillar aggregates called Lewy bodies (LBs). LB formation has been considered to be a marker for neuronal degeneration, because neuronal loss is found in the predilection sites for LBs. To date, more than 70 molecules have been identified in LBs, in which alpha-synuclein is a major constituent of LB fibrils. Alpha-synuclein immunohistochemistry reveals that diffuse cytoplasmic staining develops into pale bodies via compaction, and that LBs arise from the peripheral portion of pale bodies. This alpha-synuclein abnormality is found in 10% of pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra and more than 50% of those in the locus ceruleus in PD. Recent studies have suggested that oligomers and protofibrils of alpha-synuclein are cytotoxic, and that LBs may represent a cytoprotective mechanism in PD.

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