Immunocytochemical localization of acyl-CoA oxidase in the rat central nervous system

Stefano Farioli-Vecchioli, Sandra Moreno, Maria Paola Cerù

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Peroxisomal β-oxidation, consisting of four steps catalysed by an acyl-CoA oxidase, a multifunctional protein and a thiolase, is responsible for the shortening of a variety of lipid compounds. The first reaction of this pathway is catalysed by a FAD-containing acyl-CoA oxidase, three isotypes of which have been so far recognised. Among these, straight-chain acyl-CoA oxidase (ACOX) acts on long and very long chain fatty acids, prostaglandins and some xenobiotics. We investigated ACOX localisation by means of a sensitive, tyramide based, immunocytochemical technique, thus obtaining a complete distribution atlas of the enzyme in adult rat CNS. Granular immunoreaction product was found in the cytoplasm of neuronal and glial cells, both in the perikarya and in the cell processes. ACOX immunoreactive neurons were present to variable extent, in either forebrain or hindbrain areas. Specifically, the strongest signal was detected in the pallidum, septum, red nucleus, reticular formation, nuclei of the cranial nerves, and motoneurons of the spinal cord. We then compared the ACOX immunoreactivity pattern with our previous distribution maps of other peroxisomal enzymes in the adult rat brain. While ACOX appeared to colocalise with catalase in the majority of cerebral regions, some differences with respect to D-amino acid oxidase were noted. These observations support the hypothesis of heterogeneous peroxisomal populations in the nervous tissue. The wide distribution of the enzyme in the brain is consistent with the severe and generalised neurological alterations characterising the peroxisomal disorder caused by ACOX deficiency (pseudo-neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


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