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J Chem Neuroanat. 1996 Jun;10(3-4):249-58.

Colocalization of NOS and SOD1 in neurofilament accumulation within motor neurons of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: an immunohistochemical study.

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  • 1Forbes Norris ALS/MDA Research Center, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco 94115, USA.


Peroxynitrite, formed from nitric oxide and superoxide, may affect neurofilament assembly and cause neurofilament accumulation in motoneurons. This hypothesis may reconcile the mutations of two genes: superoxide dismutase-1 in some patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and the gene for the heavy neurofilament in some patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis previously reported. We found colocalization of superoxide dismutase-1 and nitric oxide synthase in the foci of neurofilament accumulation as 'conglomerates' in upper motor neurons and 'axonal spheroids' in lower motor neurons. In addition, all the specific molecules related to the reactions, including calmodulin, 3', 5'-cyclic guanosine-monophosphate, citrulline, and nitrotyrosine were found strongly immunopositive in the site of neurofilament accumulation. Our data support the view that the neurofilament aggregates are tightly linked with superoxide dismutase-1 and nitric oxide synthase activities. Both enzymes may focally contribute to peroxynitrite formation at light neurofilament, which is rich in both tyrosine and arginine residues and hence considered as the vulnerable site for nitrotyrosine formation. Nitrotyrosine is known to inhibit phosphorylation and if it impairs phosphorylation of neurofilament subunits, either light or heavy, may alter the slow axonal transport culminating in proximo-distal accumulation of NF and slowly progressive motoneuron death.

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