NACP/alpha-synuclein and tau constitute two distinctive subsets of filaments in the same neuronal inclusions in brains from a family of parkinsonism and dementia with Lewy bodies: double-immunolabeling fluorescence and electron microscopic studies.
The fact that Lewy bodies stain strongly with antibodies to asynuclein and that mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene lead to syndromes in which parkinsonism and dementia occur gives us important clues regarding the biologic processes leading to disease.
In this study no one of our 85 patients of Serbian origin with young-onset (</= 45 years) dopa-responsive parkinsonism (YOP), previously proved negative forPARK1 and PARK2 mutations, had either spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) or SCA3 mutation.
Mutations in the alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) gene are responsible for a rare familial parkinsonism syndrome, a finding that has led to extensive characterization of altered alpha-syn structure in sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The genetic basis for familial parkinsonism is an SNCA-MMRN11 multiplication, but whereas SNCA-MMRN1 duplication in the Swedish proband (Branch J) leads to late-onset autonomic dysfunction and parkinsonism, SNCA-MMRN1 triplication in the Swedish American family (Branch I) leads to early-onset Parkinson disease and dementia.
The discoveries of genes related to hereditary forms of parkinsonism (PARK1, PARK2, PARK6, PARK7 and PARK8) have increased our understanding either of distinct subtypes of clinical expression in PD or its etiology.
Since the discovery in 1997 of the first heritable form of parkinsonism that could be linked to a mutation in a single gene, SNCA, many more genetic leads have followed (Parkin, DJ-1, PINK1, LRRK2, to name a few); these have provided us with many molecular clues to better explore the etiology of parkinsonism and have led to the dismantling of many previously held dogmas about Parkinson disease (PD).
With the discovery of missense and multiplication mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene (SNCA) in familial parkinsonism, Lewy inclusions were found to stain intensely with antibodies raised against the protein.
We hypothesize that the former pediatric disease, as well as the parkinsonism and dementia phenotypes, are associated with duplications, triplications and possibly higher-order multiplications of the alpha-synuclein (SNCA) gene.