Neurofilaments are the 10nm or intermediate filament proteins found specifically in neurons, and are composed predominantly of three major proteins called NF-L, NF-M and NF-H, though other filament proteins may be included also. The major function of neurofilaments is likely to control the diameter of large axons. NF-L is the neurofilament light or low molecular weight polypeptide and runs on SDS-PAGE gels at 68-70kDa with some variability across species. Antibodies to NF-L are useful for identifying neuronal cells and their processes in cell culture and sectioned material. NF-L antibody can also be useful for the visualization of neurofilament rich accumulations seen in many neurological diseases, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), giant axon neuropathy, Charcot-Marie Tooth disease and others. Much interest has recently been focused on the detection of NF-L released from neurons into blood and CSF as a surrogate marker of primarily axonal loss in a variety of types of CNS injury and degeneration.
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