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Am J Pathol. 1992 Feb;140(2):277-82.

Lack of ubiquitin immunoreactivities at both ends of neuropil threads. Possible bidirectional growth of neuropil threads.

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  • 1Department of Neuropathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Immunocytochemically, neuropil threads (curly fibers) were investigated in the Alzheimer's disease brain using a confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscope by double labeling with tau/ubiquitin antibodies. Ubiquitin immunoreactivities were found to be lacking at one or both ends in more than 40% of tau-positive threads. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that bundles of paired helical filaments, which constitute neuropil threads, were positive for ubiquitin around their midportions, but often negative at their ends. Since it is reasonable to postulate that tau deposition as paired helical filaments precedes ubiquitination, the aforementioned observation suggests that the ends of the threads are newly formed portions, and thus the threads are often growing bidirectionally in small neuronal processes.

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