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Regul Pept. 2009 Jan 8;152(1-3):13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.regpep.2008.07.009. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

Chromogranin peptides in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Medical University of Innsbruck, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder which primarily affects motor neurons. Eight cases of ALS and seven control cases were studied with semiquantitative immunocytochemistry for chromogranin A, chromogranin B and secretogranin II that are soluble constituents of large dense core vesicles, synaptophysin as a membrane protein of small synaptic vesicles and superoxide dismutase 1. Among the chromogranin peptides, the number and staining intensity of motor neurons was highest for chromogranin A. In ALS, the staining intensity for chromogranin peptides and synaptophysin was significantly lower in the ventral horn of ALS patients due to a loss in immunoreactive motor neurons, varicose fibers and varicosities. For all chromogranins, the remaining motor neurons displayed a characteristic staining pattern consisting of an intracellular accumulation of immunoreactivity with a high staining intensity. Confocal microscopy of motor neurons revealed that superoxide dismutase 1-immunopositive intracellular aggregates also contained chromogranin A, chromogranin B and secretogranin II. These findings indicate that there is a loss of small and large dense core vesicles in presynaptic terminals. The intracellular co-occurrence of superoxide dismutase 1 and chromogranins may suggest a functional interaction between these proteins. This study should prompt further experiments to elucidate the role of chromogranins in ALS patients.

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