Widespread expression of α-synuclein and τ immunoreactivity in Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome with protracted clinical course

Yuko Saito, Mitsuru Kawai, Kiyoharu Inoue, Ryogen Sasaki, Hiroyuki Arai, Eiji Nanba, Shigeki Kuzuhara, Yasuo Ihara, Ichiro Kanazawa, Shigeo Murayama

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome (HSS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder clinically characterized by extrapyramidal signs and progressive dementia. In a typical case, the clinical symptoms become apparent during late childhood, and usually the course is protracted over a decade or more. We recently had an opportunity to study the brains of two cases of HSS with a clinical course of over 30 years. Case 1 was a 44-year-old female and case 2 was a 37-year- old male. Grossly, the brains showed severe fronto-temporal lobar atrophy with abundant spheroids and mild iron deposits in the globus pallidus, associated with features of motor neuron disease. In addition, there was diffuse sponginess in the atrophic cortex as well as widespread Alzheimer's neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and Lewy bodies (LBs) in the cortical and subcortical regions, including the spinal cord. Ultrastructurally, NFTs were composed of paired helical filaments, and LBs of central dense cores with radiating fibrils. Discrete immunostaining was demonstrated in NFTs and neuropil threads with various antibodies against phosphorylated τ, and in LBs with antibody against α-synuclein. In addition, diffuse, overlapping immunoreactivity of α-synuclein and phosphorylated τ was seen within the cytoplasm of many neurons. However, when LBs and NFTs coexisted within the same neurons, they were clearly segregated. The findings of our present cases as well as those reported in the literature may indicate that simultaneous and extensive occurrence of abnormal phosphorylation of τ and accumulation of α-synuclein may constitute cardinal pathological features of HSS with protracted clinical course. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the neurological sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Aug 1


  • Lewy body
  • Neuroaxonal dystrophy
  • Neurofibrillary tangle
  • Tau
  • α-Synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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