Immunocytochemical studies of neurofilament antigens in the neurofibrillary pathology induced by aluminum

Juan C. Troncoso, Nancy H. Sternberger, Ludwig A. Sternberger, Paul N. Hoffman, Donald L. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Intrathecal administration of aluminum salts induces accumulation of neurofilaments in axons and perikarya of motor neurons and is associated with impaired axonal transport of neurofilament proteins. Because phosphorylation of the 200-kilodalton (kd) neurofilament protein, thought to be a major component of the sidearms, seems to be important in interactions of neurofilaments with other cytoskeletal elements, we have postulated that aluminum may produce neurofibrillary pathology by altering patterns of neurofilament phosphorylation. To test this hypothesis, antibodies against phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated neurofilament epitopes were used for immunocytochemical analysis of spinal cord sections from aluminum-injected rabbits. In control animals, phosphorylated 200-kd neurofilament proteins were not demonstrable in perikarya of motor neurons. In experimental rabbits, perikarya and proximal axons of affected motor neurons showed striking accumulations of immunoreactivity of one phosphorylated epitope. The presence of phosphorylated 200-kd neurofilament proteins in these regions may have important consequences for the organization of the cytoskeleton and for the transport of neurofilaments. A similar, but not identical, pattern of accumulation of phosphorylated neurofilament immunoreactivity has recently been observed in neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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