Early pathological features of Alzheimer's disease (AD) include synaptic loss and dendrite retraction, prior to neuronal loss. How neurons respond to this evolving AD pathology remains elusive. In the present study, we used single- and double-label immunohistochemistry to investigate the relationship between neuronal vimentin expression and local brain pathology. Vimentin was localized to neuronal perikarya and dendrites in AD brain, with vimentin-immunopositive neurons prevalent in regions exhibiting intra- and extracellular beta-amyloid1-42 (Aβ42) deposition. Neuronal co-localization of vimentin and Aβ42 was common in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus. Additionally, neurons in affected brain regions of AD transgenic (Tg2576) mice and in brain tissue subjected to mechanical injury expressed vimentin, while those in comparable regions of control mouse brain did not. Finally, we show that neurons in human fetal brain express vimentin concurrently with periods of rapid neurite extension. Overall, our results suggest that neurons express vimentin as part of an evolutionarily conserved, damage-response mechanism which recapitulates a developmental program used by differentiating neurons to establish dendrites and synaptic connections.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology