Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation, type 1 is characterized by α-, β-, and γ-synuclein neuropathology

James E. Galvin, Benoit Giasson, Howard I. Hurtig, Virginia M.Y. Lee, John Q. Trojanowski

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160 Scopus citations


Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation, type 1 (NBIA 1), or Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome, is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized clinically by Parkinsonism, cognitive impairment, pseudobulbar features, as well as cerebellar ataxia, and neuropathologically by neuronal loss, gliosis, and iron deposition in the globus pallidus, red nucleus, and substantia nigra. The hallmark pathological lesions of NBIA 1 are axonal spheroids, but Lewy body (LB)-like intraneuronal inclusions, glial inclusions, and rare neurofibrillary tangles also occur. Here we show that there is an accumulation of α-synuclein (αS) in LB-like inclusions, glial inclusions, and spheroids in the brains of three NBIA 1 patients. Further, β-synuclein (βS) and γ-synuclein (γS) immunoreactivity was detected in spheroids but not in LB-like or glial inclusions. Western blot analysis demonstrated high-molecular weight αS aggregates in the high-salt-soluble and Triton X-100-insol uble/sodium dodecyl sulfate-soluble fraction of the NBIA 1 brain. Significantly, the levels of αS were markedly reduced in the Triton X-100-soluble fractions compared to control brain, and unlike other synucleinopathies, insoluble αS did not accumulate in the formic acid-soluble fraction. These findings expand the concept of neurodegenerative synucleinopathies by implicating αS, βS, and γS in the pathogenesis of NBIA 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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