Progressive reduction of synaptophysin message in single neurons in Alzheimer disease

Linda M. Callahan, William A. Vaules, Paul D. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The data presented here examine 2 hypotheses: 1) that viable but vulnerable single neurons remaining in the Alzheimer brain lose synaptic markers, and 2) that the extent of this loss is related to the disease state of these single neurons when disease state is defined by immunoreactivity. We used double immunohistochemistry (IHC) to define neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) and phosphorylation status of tau at selected defined epitopes. This double IHC was combined with quantitative in situ hybridization for message for the synaptic marker, synaptophysin, in 1,127 single hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons from 15 Alzheimer disease (AD) and 4 control cases. We found that there is a graded, progressive, decrease of synaptophysin message expressed by single neurons related to immunohistochemical markers of tau status, and that neurons in similar immunohistochemically defined classes show similar losses of synaptophysin message regardless of whether they were sampled from clinical control brains or advanced AD. The resulting conclusions are consistent with a suggestion that differences among clinically defined AD and control status are defined by the numbers of neurons in various disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-395
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer disease (AD)
  • Neurofibrillary Tangle (NFT), NFT-free
  • Phosphorylation
  • Synaptophysin
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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