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October 1978

Protein-Rich Cytoplasmic Bodies of Substantia Nigra and Locus Ceruleus: A Comparative Study in Parkinsonian and Normal Brain

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology (Drs Mytilineou, Whetsell, and Yahr), Mt Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York, and the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Issidorides), University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(10):633-637. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500340009002

• A histochemical study of substantia nigra and locus ceruleus from postmortem brains showed the presence of small spherical cytoplasmic bodies stained selectively by the anionic phosphotungstic acid-hematoxylin (PTAH) stain at a pH of 2.5. The metachromatic reaction to PTAH indicates that these protein bodies contain a protein rich in free basic amino groups. The protein bodies are localized within the neuronal perikaryon as well as in their dendritic processes. These bodies abundantly present in the substantia nigra and locus ceruleus of normal brains were noticeably reduced or absent in parkinsonian brains. Lewy bodies when present show that their core gives the same metachromatic reaction to PTAH as do the protein bodies. These findings suggest that an abnormality of protein synthesis in the substantia nigra and locus ceruleus of parkinsonian brains may be related to the absence of protein bodies and the formation of Lewy bodies and play a role in pathogenesis of the parkinsonian state.

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