Immunocytochemical studies of substance P and met-enkephalin in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra in huntington’s, parkinson’s and alzheimer’s diseases

Marjorie R. Grafe, Lysia S. Forno, Lawrence F. Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Immunocytochemical studies of the distribution and intensity of Substance P and Met-enkephalin staining in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra were carried out in five cases each of brains from patients with Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and normal controls. The usefulness of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase method for human autopsy material was confirmed. Substance P and Met-enkephalin fibers were distributed in essentially the same pattern as described in experimental animals and in human brains. In Huntington’s disease brains decreased Substance P staining was found in the internal globus pallidus and the substantia nigra, in agreement with radioimmunoassay studies by others. Met- enkephalin staining in the external globus pallidus was of normal intensity, although present within a shrunken area. In Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases there was intense immunoreactivity for Substance P in the globus pallidus and substantia nigra, and for Met-enkephalin in the globus pallidus, at variance with reported decreases in Parkinson’s disease by radioimmunoassay, but in essential agreement with other immunocytochemical studies. Immunocytochemical methods complement radioimmunoassays of human brain and may help in mapping neuropeptidergic pathways and in pinpointing abnormalities in these pathways in basal ganglia disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-59
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985



  • Basal ganglia
  • Endorphins
  • Huntington’s chorea
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Met-enkephalin
  • Parkinson disease
  • Substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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