Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology

Lewy body formation in Parkinson's disease: Neurodegeneration or neuroprotection?

Koichi Wakabayashi, M.D.

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Brain Science, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine

The histological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the presence of fibrillar aggregates called Lewy bodies (LBs). LB formation has been considered to be a marker for neuronal degeneration, because neuronal loss is found in the predilection sites for LBs. To date, more than 70 molecules have been identified in LBs, in which α-synuclein is a major constituent of LB fibrils. α-Synuclein immunohistochemistry reveals that diffuse cytoplasmic staining develops into pale bodies via compaction, and that LBs arise from the peripheral portion of pale bodies. Abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein (diffuse cytoplasmic staining, pale bodies and LBs) is found in 10% of pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra and more than 50% of those in the locus ceruleus in PD. Recent studies have suggested that oligomers and protofibrils of α-synuclein are cytotoxic, and that pale bodies and LBs may represent a cytoprotective mechanism in PD.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (187K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 48: 981|983, 2008)
key words: α-synuclein, Lewy body, Parkinson's disease, substantia nigra

(Received: 17-May-08)