Immunoelectron microscopy of Rosenthal fibers
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Seventeen intracerebral gliomas containing Rosenthal fibers (RF) were studied by an immunoperoxidase method for localization of ubiquitin (UB), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), desmin and vimentin (VIM). The majority of RF showed an immunohistochemically negative core surrounded by a ring of overlapping reactions for UB, GFAP and VIM. Many RF were entirely negative for UB and intermediate filaments (IF). Immunoelectron microscopic localization of UB and GFAP was performed on seven selected tumors. UB was found in all RF and on IF in the proximity of RF. GFAP reaction was localized on astrocytic IF, including those trapped within RF, and within the granular component of some RF. In contrast to the light microscopic studies, neither GFAP- nor UB-negative RF were found on immunoelectron microscopy. VIM reaction on IF and a few RF was demonstrated in one tumor processed at low temperature into Lowicryl; it was much weaker than that for GFAP. Many cells with RF contained lysosome-like inclusions with material displaying electron density similar to adjacent RF; few of these inclusions were reactive for UB. It is concluded that RF formation is associated with ubiquitination of astrocytic IF. GFAP- and VIM-immunoreactive IF and products of their disintegration contribute to RF material. It is also suggested that the lysosomal system of astrocytes partially degrades RF.
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