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Am J Pathol. 1991 Jan;138(1):235-46.

Cortical and subcortical patterns of synaptophysinlike immunoreactivity in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California, School of Medicine, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.


Quantification of synaptophysinlike immunoreactivity is a valuable method for studying the presynaptic terminals in the normal and damaged nervous system. The present report shows that in the control brain, the predominant pattern of synaptic immunostaining in the neocortex was that of an evenly distributed densely granular immunolabeling of the neuropil, while in the paleocortex and in subcortical areas of the brain most of the presynaptic terminals were distributed along the dendritic arborizations or around the neuronal somata. The immunochemical and the immunohistochemical analysis of the Alzheimer's disease tissue showed that the frontal and parietal cortex presented the most severe and widespread loss, with a 45% loss in synaptophysin immunoreactivity. These areas showed an average 35% loss of large neurons. The visual cortex, hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, nucleus basalis of Meynert, and locus ceruleus displayed some degree of loss, but to a lesser extent. In addition to this loss, the basic patterns of organization of the presynaptic terminals were altered, with the presence of abundant, enlarged synaptophysin-labeled terminals. This study further supports the role of synaptic pathology in Alzheimer's disease.

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