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Neurofilaments can be defined as the intermediate or 10nm filaments found in specifically in neuronal cells. In the electron microscope neurofilaments appears as 10nm diameter fibres of indeterminate length which generally have fine wispy protrusions from their sides. They are found particularly abundantly in axons of large projection neurons. Antibodies to the various neurofilament subunits are very useful cell type markers since the proteins are among the most abundant of the nervous system, are expressed only in neurons, and are biochemically very stable.
Image: View of mixed neuron/glial cultures stained with chicken polyclonal NF-L (red) and phosphorylated NF-H The NF-L protein is assembled into neurofilaments which are found throughout the axons, dendrites and perikarya of these cells. In contrast the phosphorylated NF-H has a much rmore restricted expression pattern, being found only in developed axonal neurofilaments. Since both proteins are found in neurofilaments, the red and green patterns overlap, so that neurofilaments containing NF-L and phosphorylated NF-H appear yellowish. In contrast neurofilaments containing only NF-L appear red. Protocol on datasheet.
NF-L antibody can also be useful in the diagnostics of neurofilament accumulations seen in many neurological diseases, such as Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Mutations in the protein coding region of the human NF-L gene cause some forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Primary Neurons and Astrocytes-Primary human, rat and mouse neurons and astrocytes by Category
Image: NF-L western blots of whole protein extracts of rat spinal cord (lane 1), brain stem (lane 2), cerebellum (lane 3) and cerebral cortex (lane 4). Neurofilaments are concentrated in large projection axons and therefore NF-L is a much more major component of spinal cord than cortical regions. Protocol on datasheet.