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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2002 Apr;28(2):120-8.

Ubiquitin-only intraneuronal inclusion in the substantia nigra is a characteristic feature of motor neurone disease with dementia.

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Department of Neuropathology and Neurology, King's College Hospital/Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.


Two types of ubiquitinated inclusions have been described in motor neurone disease (MND). (1) Skein or globular ubiquitinated inclusions in the motor neurones (more frequently in the lower motor neurones). This is a characteristic feature of all motor neurone disease categories. (2) Dot-shape or crescentric ubiquitinated inclusions in the upper layers of cortex and dentate gyrus described in cases of motor neurone disease with dementia (DMND). We investigated the substantia nigra (SN) in MND cases; two cases of motor neurone disease inclusion body (MND-IB) dementia, six cases of DMND, 14 cases of MND (including one case from Guam and two cases of familial SOD1 mutation), four cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), and 10 cases of age-matched normal controls. SN and spinal cord sections were stained with ubiquitin (alpha-synuclein, tau, PGM1, SMI-31 and SOD1 antibodies). The neuronal density in SN was quantified by using a computer-based image analysis system. Four out of six DMND cases showed rounded ubiquitin positive inclusions with irregular frayed edges, associated with neuronal loss, reactive astrocytosis and a large number of activated microglia cells. These inclusions are negative with antibodies to (alpha-synuclein, tau, SMI-31 and SOD1). The SN in cases from MND-IB dementia and MND showed occasional neuronal loss and no inclusions. The ubiquitin-only inclusions in SN of DMND cases are similar (but not identical) to the ubiquitinated inclusions described previously in the spinal cord of MND cases and are distinct from Lewy bodies (LBs). The degeneration of SN is most likely a primary neurodegenerative process of motor neurone disease type frequently involving the DMND cases. MND disease is a spectrum and multisystem disorder with DMND located at the extreme end of a spectrum affecting the CNS more widely than just the motor system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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