[Lewy bodies, a misleading marker for Parkinson's disease?].Bull Acad Natl Med. 2003; 187(2):277-92; discussion 292-3.BA
The Lewy body, an eosinophilic inclusion around 10 microns in diameter, is localised in the neuronal perikaryon. Its dense core is surrounded by a clear halo, which is lacking in the so-called "cortical Lewy bodies". Numerous proteins have been identified in Lewy bodies, among which the three neurofilament isoforms, ubiquitin and proteasome subunits. More recently, alpha-synuclein--a pre-synaptic protein--has been found to be the essential constituent of the Lewy body. Alpha-synuclein antibody has greatly increased the sensitivity of the neuropathological examination: it has emphasized the frequency of "Lewy neurites" (accumulation of alpha--synuclein in neuronal processes) and has shown the importance of extra-nigral pathology. Lewy bodies and neurites are indeed to be found in many areas of the central and peripheral nervous system: stellate ganglia, cardiac and enteric plexus, pigmented nuclei of the brainstem, basal nucleus of Meynert, amygdala, limbic nuclei of the thalamus, parahippocampal and cingulate gyri, insula and isocortex. Lewy body diseases include at least three clinical syndromes: 1) idiopathic Parkinson disease in which the brainstem bears the brunt of the pathology 2) Parkinson disease dementia in which Lewy lesions are found in the brainstem and are also abundant in the isocortex. A large number of senile plaques is frequently associated. 3) In dementia with Lewy bodies, the same lesions are observed but the cognitive deficit occurs first or shortly (less than one year) after the motor symptoms.