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Am J Pathol. 1990 Aug;137(2):233-40.

Immunoreactive A4 and gamma-trace peptide colocalization in amyloidotic arteriolar lesions in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), UCLA School of Medicine 90024-1732.


Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) defines a biochemically heterogeneous entity that manifests as effacement of cerebral microvessel walls by a fibrillar material with characteristic tinctorial properties. In biochemical terms, the amyloid that infiltrates blood vessels in CAA is composed of the A4 or beta peptide of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a molecule related to gamma trace or cystatin C (seen in patients with hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis in Iceland, HCHWA-I), or the PrP characteristic of spongiform encephalopathy and scrapie. Using antibodies to synthetic peptides representing portions of the 4.2-kd Alzheimer A4 peptide and the gamma-trace peptide, we immunostained sections of brain from patients with AD, senile dementia of Alzheimer's type, and CAA with associated leukoencephalopathy. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated colocalization of the A4 and gamma-trace peptides within arteriolar walls, but only rarely in A4 amyloidotic capillaries or senile plaque cores of amyloid. When gamma-tracelike reactivity was noted in capillary walls, it was sometimes noted within the cytoplasm of pericytes. Immunostaining was always more intense when the anti-A4 antibody was used as the primary antibody. Gamma-trace immunostaining was more prominent on the adventitial component of arteriolar walls, whereas A4 staining was usually seen more diffusely throughout the blood vessel wall, especially in the media. Rarely individual pericytelike cells showed prominent gamma-trace immunoreactivity. These findings suggest that A4 and gamma-tracelike molecules may colocalize within arteriolar walls within the brains of patients with AD, and highlight the fact that CAA identified with AD and HCHWA-I are not as biochemically distinct as was assumed previously. Furthermore these findings suggest that other peptidases or protease inhibitors may be found within amyloidotic microvessel walls and may contribute to senile brain change and CAA-related strokes, including hemorrhage and encephalomalacia.

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