Alpha-synuclein expression in central nervous system tumors showing neuronal or mixed neuronal/glial differentiation

Ravi Raghavan, Charles L. White, Beverly Rogers, Caetano Coimbra, Elisabeth J. Rushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein) is a member of a family of cytoplasmic proteins found predominantly and abundantly in the brain, and concentrated in pre-synaptic nerve terminals, near vesicles. We hypothesized that an antibody to α-synuclein could be a useful marker of neuronal differentiation in central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Twenty tumors known to have neuronal or mixed neuronal/glial differentiation (11 gangliogliomas, 2 anaplastic gangliogliomas, 5 gangliocytomas, and 2 ganglioneuroblastomas), 5 central neurocytomas, and 1 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET) were immunostained with a mouse monoclonal antibody raised against human α- synuclein. Intense cytoplasmic staining, in some instances extending into the perikarya, was seen in 6 of 11 gangliogliomas, 2 of 2 anaplastic gangliogliomas, and 2 of 2 ganglioneuroblastomas. Alpha-synuclein-positive cells were usually large in size, resembled dysmorphic neurons, and were variably immunoreactive for anti-neurofilament and/or anti-synaptophysin antibodies. In contrast, central neurocytomas, gangliocytomas, and the DNET were negative for cytoplasmic α-synuclein expression. Our findings indicate that α-synuclein is expressed within the neuronal component of mixed tumors of the CNS displaying more than 1 histophenotype, and/or showing different degrees of anaplasia. Based on currently available data, we conclude that cytoplasmic α-synuclein expression is a marker of maturing neurons in these tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Ganglioglioma
  • Ganglioneuroblastoma
  • NACP
  • Neoplasms
  • Neuronal
  • Tumors
  • α- synuclien

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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