Optineurin inclusions occur in a minority of TDP-43 positive ALS and FTLD-TDP cases and are rarely observed in other neurodegenerative disorders

Tibor Hortobagyi, Claire Troakes, Agnes L. Nishimura, Caroline Vance, John C. van Swieten, Harro Seelaar, Andrew King, Safa Al-Sarraj, Boris Rogelj, Christopher E. Shaw

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Optineurin (OPTN) is a multifunctional protein involved in vesicular trafficking, signal transduction and gene expression. OPTN mutations were described in eight Japanese patients with familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS, SALS). OPTN-positive inclusions co-localising with TDP-43 were described in SALS and in FALS with SOD-1 mutations, potentially linking two pathologically distinct pathways of motor neuron degeneration. We have explored the abundance of OPTN inclusions using a range of antibodies in postmortem tissues from 138 cases and controls including sporadic and familial ALS, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and a wide range of neurodegenerative proteinopathies. OPTN-positive inclusions were uncommon and detected in only 11/32 (34%) of TDP-43-positive SALS spinal cord and 5/15 (33%) of FTLD-TDP. Western blot of lysates from FTLD-TDP frontal cortex and TDP-43-positive SALS spinal cord revealed decreased levels of OPTN protein compared to controls (p <0.05), however, this correlated with decreased neuronal numbers in the brain. Large OPTN inclusions were not detected in FALS with SOD-1 and FUS mutation, respectively, or in FTLD-FUS cases. OPTN-positive inclusions were identified in a few Alzheimer's disease (AD) cases but did not co-localise with tau and TDP-43. Occasional striatal neurons contained granular cytoplasmic OPTN immunopositivity in Huntington's disease (HD) but were absent in spinocerebellar ataxia type 3. No OPTN inclusions were detected in FTLD-tau and alpha-synucleinopathy. We conclude that OPTN inclusions are relatively rare and largely restricted to a minority of TDP-43 positive ALS and FTLD-TDP cases. Our results do not support the proposition that OPTN inclusions play a central role in the pathogenesis of ALS, FTLD or any other neurodegenerative disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519 - 527
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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