Subcortical Lewy bodies are the pathological hallmark of idiopathic Parkinson's disease. This study sought to determine the extent to which each neurofilament subunit [low (NF‐L), mid (NF‐M), or high (NF‐H)] was present in Lewy bodies by using light, confocal, and electron microscopy. A battery of 37 antineurofilament antibodies, characterized as to subunit specificity, epitope domain, and phosphorylation status, was employed to probe substantia nigra Lewy bodies from 15 Parkinson's disease cases. All 37 antibodies labelled Lewy bodies. The epitopes recognized by these antibodies included those in the NF‐L rod and tail domains; the NF‐M head, rod, and tail domains, as well as epitopes within, and flanking, the multiphosphorylation repeat site; and the NF‐H rod domain and multiphosphorylation repeat sites. With these probes, nearly the entire length of each subunit could be demonstrated in Lewy bodies. However, the staining pattern of the Lewy bodies suggested that the tail domains of NF‐M and NF‐H were present in the periphery of the Lewy body core and in the Lewy body corona, but they appeared to be altered or missing in the center of the Lewy body core. In contrast, the head domain of NF‐M, the tail domain of NF‐L, and the rod domains of all three subunits are present throughout the Lewy body. These results strongly suggest that the entire extent of each neurofilament subunit is found in Lewy bodies but that the neurofilament subunits may be altered during the processing of these filaments into Lewy bodies.
- confocal microscopy
- intermediate filaments
- posttranslational protein modification
ASJC Scopus subject areas