Centenary of Lewy bodies (1912-2012)

Holdorff, Bernd; Rodrigues e Silva, Antonio; Dodel, Richard
April 2013
Journal of Neural Transmission;Apr2013, Vol. 120 Issue 4, p509
Academic Journal
During the years from 1908 until 1923, Lewy was the first to detail the pathological anatomy of Parkinson's disease, leading to his seminal contribution in 1912 describing the neuronal eosinophilic cytoplasmatic concentric inclusion bodies in the brainstem, later accomplished by more systematic investigations in 1923 (Lewy in Lewandowsky's Handbuch der Neurologie, 3. Band: Spez. Neurologie II. Springer, Berlin, pp 920-933, ). With the exception of a minority of cases and those that displayed postencephalitic Parkinsonism, Lewy was not able to confirm the significance of the substantia nigra. The findings of Tretiakoff in 1919 (significance of the substantia nigra in PD and coining of the term 'Corps de Lewy') have been underestimated or ignored for a long time. In a historical review on basal ganglia diseases from 1942, Lewy stressed the histological abnormalities of the basal ganglia and their diffuse distribution but not expressly the inclusion bodies, which in his former studies were unique in PD. For Lewy this finding was not a characteristic of the disease. Subsequent to his expulsion from Nazi-Germany in 1933, Lewy never resumed his research on PD. At the time of Lewy's death in 1950, the era of the Lewy bodies, Lewy-body-disease and the identification of atypical Parkinson syndrome cases had not even begun and followed much later.


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