Ultrastructure of phosphotungstic acid (PTA) positive deposits in the hippocampus of senile demented patients.

C. Bertoni-Freddari, P. Fattoretti, T. Casoli, C. Spagna, W. Meier-Ruge, J. Ulrich

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To perform a quantitative investigation on synaptic ultrastructural features in the human hippocampus in normal old and senile demented patients we stained our tissue samples by means of the ethanol-phosphotungstic acid (E-PTA) preferential technique. In addition to the synaptic contact zones, we found that structures similar to neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) and senile plaques (SP) were remarkably positive to our staining procedure, while the background was faintly electron lucent. On the basis of the E-PTA staining properties and specificity, we support that the reactive sites of these positive structures are represented by basic amino acids. The recently demonstrated presence of 4 basic amino acids (1 arginine, 3 histidine) in the cleaved fragment of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) suggest us to hypothesise that this APP portion may represent the common constitutive element of the many morphologically different alterations found in the brains of senile demented patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalBollettino della Societa Italiana di Biologia Sperimentale
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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