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Dementia. 1995 Jul-Aug;6(4):211-7.

Synaptophysin immunoreactivity is stable 36 h postmortem.

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Department of Neuropathology, Lund University, Sweden.


The effects of postmortem time, age and tissue storage time on synaptic density were investigated in the prefrontal cortex of human brains. Thirty normal cases and 10 patients with a variety of neurologic diseases were studied, using quantitative immunohistochemistry with a monoclonal antibody to synaptophysin. Synaptophysin immunoreactivity was stable during the first 36 h after death, showing no significant change at 1, 8, 12, 24 and 36 h postmortem in normals. However, at 48 and 72 h postmortem, synaptophysin immunoreactivity decreased significantly. A similar pattern of postmortem changes was found in the disease group. In 14 normal cases with a wide range of ages, a significant reduction in synaptic density with age was observed while the time of tissue storage as paraffin-embedded blocks had no significant effect on the synaptophysin immunoreactivity. These results support the validity of using synaptophysin immunohistochemistry as a measure of synaptic density in human brain autopsied within 36 h of death and stored as paraffin-embedded blocks for a long time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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