Increased expression of growth-associated protein 43 on the surface of the anterior horn cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Akito Ikemoto, Asao Hirano, Ichiro Akiguchi

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12 Scopus citations


This study examined axonal terminal alterations in the anterior horn of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. An antibody against growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), a phosphoprotein which is expressed in elongating terminals of neurites, was employed for immunohistochemical staining. Lumbar spinal cords taken at autopsy from five ALS patients and from six control adults were examined. In control patients, there were numerous GAP43-positive granules diffusely dispersed throughout the anterior horn neuropil, and individual large anterior horn cells (AHCs) showed numerous tiny immunoreactive granules and small dots on the surface. A small number of AHCs showed dense accumulation of GAP43 immunoreactivity on the surface of the cell body and proximal processes. In all ALS patients, similar accumulation of GAP43 immunoreactivity was seen on the surface of a large number of remaining AHCs. Statistical analysis revealed a significant increase in number of AHCs with such accumulation in ALS patients. These results suggest that during the ALS disease process there may be plastic alterations or a compensatory mechanism of the axonal terminals located on the surface of some AHCs for ongoing anterior horn presynaptic terminal degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1999



  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Anterior horn cell
  • Axonal terminal
  • Growth-associated protein 43
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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