Amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide, a cleavage product of the amyloid-beta protein precursor (AbetaPP), has been reported to be detected in the intracellular compartment. Most studies reporting the presence of intracellular Abeta are based on the use of immunohistochemistry. In this study, the presence of AbetaPP and Abeta was assessed by applying immunohistochemistry in postmortem human brain tissue samples obtained from 10 neurologically intact subjects, the youngest being 2 years of age, one aged with mild cognitive impairment, 14 neurologically diseased, and in one brain biopsy sample obtained from a subject with normal pressure hydrocephalus. Intracellular immunoreactivity was detected in all ages independent of the disease state or existence of extracellular Abeta aggregates with all antibodies directed to AbetaPP, with three Abeta antibodies (4G8, 6E10, and 82E1), clones that are unable to distinguish Abeta from AbetaPP. These results suggest that it is AbetaPP rather than Abeta that is detected intracellularly when using the antibodies listed above. Furthermore, the staining results varied when different pretreatment strategies were applied. Interestingly intracellular Abeta was detected with antibodies directed to the C-terminus of Abeta (neoepitope) in subjects with Alzheimer's disease. The lack of intracellular immunoreactivity in unimpaired subjects, when using antibodies against neoepitopes, may be due to a lack or a low level of the protein that is thus undetectable at light microscopic level by immunohistochemistry method. The staining results and conclusions depended strongly on the chosen antibody and the pretreatment strategy and thus multiple antibodies must be used when assessing the intracellular accumulation of Abeta.
2010. Vol. 20, no 4, 1015-1028 p.