Microglia in diffuse plaques in hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis (Dutch). An immunohistochemical study

M. L.C. Maat-Schieman, A. J. Rozemuller, S. G. van Duinen, J. Haan, P. Elkelenboom, R. A.C. Roos, P. Eikelenboom

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In hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis (Dutch) (HCHWA-D) (5/A4 amyloid deposition is found in meningocortical blood vessels and in diffuse plaques in the cerebral cortex. Diffuse plaques putatively represent early stages in the formation of senile plaques. Microglia are intimately associated with congophilic plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but microglial involvement in diffuse plaque formation is controversial. Therefore, we studied the relationship between microglia and diffuse plaques in the cerebral cortex of four patients with HCHWA-D using a panel of macrophage/microglia markers (mAbs LCA, LeuM5, LeuM3, LN3, KP1, OKIa, CLB54, Macl, Ki-M6, AMC30 and the lectin RCA-1). Eight AD patients, one demented Down's syndrome (DS) patient and four non-demented controls were included for comparison. In controls and HCHWA-D patients ramified or "resting" microglia formed a reticular array in cortical gray and subcortical white matter. Microglial cells in or near HCHWA-D diffuse plaques retained their normal regular spacing and ramified morphology. In AD/DS gray matter more microglial cells were stained than in controls and HCHWA-D patients. Intensely immunoreactive microglia with enlarged cell bodies and short, thick processes clustered in congophilic plaques. In contrast to the resting microglia, these "activated microglia" strongly expressed class II major histocompatibility complex antigen, HLA-DR, and were AMC30-immunoreactive. These findings support the view that microglia play a role in the formation of congophilic plaques but do not initiate diffuse plaque formation. Another finding in this study is the presence of strong monocyte/macrophage marker immunoreactivity in the wall of cortical congophilic blood vessels in HCHWA-D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-491
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994


  • Amyloid
  • Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
  • Diffuse plaques
  • Hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis (Dutch)
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microglia

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