International journal of legal medicine

Two different immunostaining patterns of beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) may distinguish traumatic from nontraumatic axonal injury.

PMID 26249371


Immunostaining for beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) is recognized as an effective tool for detecting traumatic axonal injury, but it also detects axonal injury due to ischemic or other metabolic causes. Previously, we reported two different patterns of APP staining: labeled axons oriented along with white matter bundles (pattern 1) and labeled axons scattered irregularly (pattern 2) (Hayashi et al. (Leg Med (Tokyo) 11:S171-173, 2009). In this study, we investigated whether these two patterns are consistent with patterns of trauma and hypoxic brain damage, respectively. Sections of the corpus callosum from 44 cases of blunt head injury and equivalent control tissue were immunostained for APP. APP was detected in injured axons such as axonal bulbs and varicose axons in 24 of the 44 cases of head injuries that also survived for three or more hours after injury. In 21 of the 24 APP-positive cases, pattern 1 alone was observed in 14 cases, pattern 2 alone was not observed in any cases, and both patterns 1 and 2 were detected in 7 cases. APP-labeled injured axons were detected in 3 of the 44 control cases, all of which were pattern 2. These results suggest that pattern 1 indicates traumatic axonal injury, while pattern 2 results from hypoxic insult. These patterns may be useful to differentiate between traumatic and nontraumatic axonal injuries.