Localization of Parkinson's disease-associated LRRK2 in normal and pathological human brain

Shinji Higashi, Saskia Biskup, Andrew B. West, Daniel Trinkaus, Valina L. Dawson, Richard L.M. Faull, Henry J. Waldvogel, Heii Arai, Ted M. Dawson, Darren J. Moore, Piers C. Emson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Mutations in the LRRK2 gene cause autosomal dominant, late-onset parkinsonism, which presents with pleomorphic pathology including alpha-synucleopathy. To promote our understanding of the biological role of LRRK2 in the brain we examined the distribution of LRRK2 mRNA and protein in postmortem human brain tissue from normal and neuropathological subjects. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis demonstrate the expression and localization of LRRK2 to various neuronal populations in brain regions implicated in Parkinson's disease (PD) including the cerebral cortex, caudate-putamen and substantia nigra pars compacta. Immunofluorescent double labeling studies additionally reveal the prominent localization of LRRK2 to cholinergic-, calretinin- and GABAB receptor 1-positive, dopamine-innervated, neuronal subtypes in the caudate-putamen. The distribution of LRRK2 in brain tissue from sporadic PD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) subjects was also examined. In PD brains, LRRK2 immunoreactivity localized to nigral neuronal processes is dramatically reduced which reflects the disease-associated loss of dopaminergic neurons in this region. However, surviving nigral neurons occasionally exhibit LRRK2 immunostaining of the halo structure of Lewy bodies. Moreover, LRRK2 immunoreactivity is not associated with Lewy neurites or with cortical Lewy bodies in sporadic PD and DLB brains. These observations indicate that LRRK2 is not a primary component of Lewy bodies and does not co-localize with mature fibrillar alpha-synuclein to a significant extent. The localization of LRRK2 to key neuronal populations throughout the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway is consistent with the involvement of LRRK2 in the molecular pathogenesis of familial and sporadic parkinsonism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-219
Number of pages12
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 25 2007


  • Dardarin
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
  • Lewy body (LB)
  • PARK8
  • Parkinson's disease (PD)
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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