Table 3

Some immunohistochemical techniques currently available to assist in diagnostic problems in neurodegenerative disorders and trauma

AntibodyMolecular specificityDiagnostic use
Amyloid precursor proteinA transmembrane precursor protein which, when mutated, can cause a familial form of Alzheimer's diseaseIdentification of axoplasmic bulbs
βA4 amyloidAn extracellular filamentous protein that forms part of the core of amyloid and neuritic plaquesNeurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia, Down's syndrome, amyloidosis, and the Guam-Parkinson dementia complex
Tau proteinA microtubule associated proteinNeurodegenerative disorders. Particularly useful in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, which is characterised by an abundance of neurofibrillary tangles, neuropil threads, and abnormal neurites
UbiquitinA polypeptide of ∼ 8.5 kDa found in filamentous inclusions and cytosome related organelles in neurodegenerative diseasesNeurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, Lewy body dementia, and Parkinson's disease
αβ CrystallinA lens protein that has some homology with the small heat shock proteinsDetection of “swollen neurones” in non-Alzheimer's dementia, and in the diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration