It is commonly assumed that most, if not all, neurons contain the intermediate filament protein class known as the neurofilament protein-triplet. The following study investigated the distribution of neurofilament protein-triplet immunoreactivity in selected regions of the guinea-pig central nervous system using monoclonal antibodies directed against phosphorylation-independent epitopes on the three subunits under optimal tissue processing conditions. Neurofilament protein-triplet immunoreactivity was present in distinct subpopulations of neurons in the cerebellar cortex, neocortex, hippocampal formation, retina, striatum and medulla oblongata. In many of these regions, labelled neurons represented only a small proportion of the total. The selective distribution of this intermediate filament protein class was confirmed in double-labelling experiments using antibodies to the neurofilament protein-triplet in combination with antibodies to other neuronal markers. The distribution of neurofilament protein-triplet immunoreactivity also correlated with the distribution of staining observed with a silver impregnation method based on Bielschowsky. The present results in combination with previous observations have demonstrated that the neurofilament protein-triplet is found in specific subclasses of neurons in different regions of the nervous system. Content of this intermediate filament protein class does not appear to be correlated with neuronal size or length of projection. These results also suggest that the selectivity of staining between neuronal classes observed with classical silver impregnation methods may be due to the presence or absence of the neurofilament protein-triplet. The present results may also provide a new perspective on the basis of the selective vulnerability of neurons in degenerative diseases.
|Number of pages||28|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1992|