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J Neurol Sci. 2013 Jun 15;329(1-2):45-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2013.03.012. Epub 2013 Apr 7.

Neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN): a useful marker of neuronal immaturity in sudden unexplained perinatal death.

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  • 1"Lino Rossi" Research Center for the Study and Prevention of Unexpected Perinatal Death and SIDS Department of Surgical, Reconstructive and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Milan, Italy. anna.lavezzi@unimi.it

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In the developing brain neuronal differentiation is associated with permanent exit from the mitotic cycle. Neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN) is a nuclear protein widely expressed in the mature postmitotic neurons.

METHODS:

We applied NeuN immunocytochemistry in 65 cases of perinatal death (16 victims of sudden intrauterine unexplained death syndrome/SIUDS, 19 of sudden infant death syndrome/SIDS and 30 controls) to test the physiological status of the brain neurons. In addition we applied both TUNEL and Caspase 3 immunohistochemical methods in order to highlight a possible relation between decreased NeuN expression and apoptotic outcome. We also attempted to see whether or not NeuN pathological changes can be related to cigarette smoke absorption in pregnancy.

RESULTS:

NeuN staining was considerably reduced or lost in SIUDS/SIDS compared to controls. However neurons with decreased NeuN-labeling showed no sign of apoptosis. A significant association was found between NeuN depletion and maternal smoking.

CONCLUSION:

Altered NeuN expression can be a marker of immature and/or suffering neurons. The exclusive presence of this pattern of expression in SIUDS/SIDS victims, leads us to recommend the NeuN immunohistochemistry as a routine method in neuropathological protocols to convalidate a diagnosis of sudden perinatal death.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23570982
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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