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November 1990

IgG Reactivity in the Spinal Cord and Motor Cortex in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(11):1210-1216. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530110068019

• The spinal cord and motor cortex of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were examined with immunohistochemical methods for the presence of IgG. In 13 of 15 spinal cords, a population of motoneurons stained positively for IgG in a granular pattern, characteristic of binding to the rough endoplasmic reticulum. In 6 of 11 motor cortices, a proportion of pyramidal cells also stained positively for IgG. No such reactivity was noted in motoneurons of control human tissues, although positive IgG staining was present in astrocytes of ALS and control specimens. Reactive microglia and/or macrophages were detected in the territory of degenerating pyramidal tracts and ventral horns. The surface of most of these cells stained positively for IgG, and 50% stained positively for HLA-DR. The accumulation of IgG in motoneurons and the presence of immunologically active macrophages provide additional evidence for the participation of immunologic factors in the pathogenesis of ALS.