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Acta Neuropathol. 1996 Oct;92(4):395-403.

Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with a mutation in exon 4 of the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene: pathological and immunocytochemical changes.

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MRC Neurochemical Pathology Unit, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Detailed molecular pathology studies and clinicopathological phenotyping of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) with characterised mutations in the gene encoding Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) will yield important insights into the pathogenesis of motor neuron degeneration. An autopsy case is described with the mutation E100G (exon 4) of the SOD1 gene in which full neuropathological examination including immunocytochemistry of ubiquitin and neurofilament epitopes was performed. The case falls into the category of "amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with posterior column involvement." Critical analysis of the findings indicates a truly multisystem disorder in which ascending sensory pathways and components of the efferent cerebellar pathways are at least as severely affected as the motor system. Abnormal neurofilament phosphorylation was not a prominent feature. Ubiquitinated neuronal inclusions were infrequent except in the hippocampal denate granule cells where they were indistinguishable from sporadic cases of ALS-dementia. The motor cortex was preserved despite severe distal axonal loss in the corticospinal tract. These findings suggest a primary failure of axonal maintainance affecting several neuronal groups with long projecting axons. The differences and similarities compared to previously reported case with I113T (exon 4) and A4T (exon 1) mutations are discussed. Findings related to inflammatory cell infiltration, ubiquitination and neurofilament phosphorylation are discussed with reference to the pathogenesis of sporadic ALS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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