Image analysis microspectroscopy shows that neurons participate in the genesis of a subset of early primitive (diffuse) senile plaques

M. A. Pappolla, R. A. Omar, H. V. Vinters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Amyloid is a component of the senile plaques that characterize one of the major neuropathologic changes in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The sequence of events leading to the accumulation of amyloid precursors in senile plaques is unknown. In previous studies, the authors have shown that congophilic deposits in a subset of mature amyloid plaques are angiocentric. In this study, the authors used image analysis microspectroscopy and an antibody directed against a synthetic beta-protein (β) or A4 sequence to examine the distribution patterns of this protein in serial sections from brains of patients with AD and in normal aged brains after quantitative immunohistochemistry. Image analysis of early primitive plaques disclosed two main patterns of early β/A4 deposition, which consisted of neurocentric and angiocentric decreasing concentration gradients. In most instances, these gradients were not recognizable by the naked eye but appeared strikingly conspicuous after image subtraction and pseudocoloring. The described neurocentric gradients suggest that deposition of this protein, in at least some early primitive plaques, is related to neurons and possibly originates from these cells. The opposite viewpoint, i.e., that peripherally synthesized β/A4 protein would 'sink in' toward neurons, is not supported because in very early plaques the highest immunoreactivity within the gradient was the neuronal body itself. A hypothesis is offered to reconcile the presence of both neurocentric and angiocentric depositions of these substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-607
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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