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August 1, 1988

Reactive microglia are positive for HLA‐DR in the substantia nigra of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease brains

August 1988 issue
38 (8) 1285

Abstract

We detected large numbers of HLA-DR-positive reactive microglia (macrophages), along with Lewy bodies and free melanin, in the substantia nigra of all cases studied with Parkinson's disease (5) and parkinsonism with dementia (PD) (5). We found similar, but less extensive, pathology in the substantia nigra of six of nine cases of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) but in only one of 11 age-matched nonneurologic cases. All dementia cases with a premortem diagnosis of DAT or PD showed large numbers of HLA-DR-positive reactive microglia and significant plaque and tangle counts in the hippocampus, as well as reduced cortical choline acetyltransferase activity. One of 11 nondemented controls showed mild evidence of similar cortical pathology. These data indicate that HLA-DR-positive reactive microglia are a sensitive index of neuropathologic activity. They suggest a frequent coexistence of DAT- and Parkinson-type pathology in elderly patients.

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Published In

Neurology®
Volume 38Number 8August 1988
Pages: 1285
PubMed: 3399080

Publication History

Published online: August 1, 1988
Published in print: August 1988

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Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

P. L. McGeer, MD, PhD
Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
S. Itagaki, MD
Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
B. E. Boyes, MSc
Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
E. G. McGeer, PhD
Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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