Axonal injury is accentuated in the caudal corpus callosum of head-injured patients.
Amyloid precursor protein (APP) accumulation is a sensitive marker for the axonal damage that is commonly seen in the brain as the result of head injury. This form of damage is particularly associated with midline structures such as the corpus callosum, although it is not clear whether some areas are more susceptible than others. The aim of this study was to determine if there was a differential distribution of axonal injury throughout the corpus callosum after head injury in an unselected group of cases. Coronal tissue sections from eight cases were taken at different levels through the corpus callosum, including the genu, body, and splenium. The sections were immunostained with an antibody to APP, and the amount of axonal damage at the different levels was quantified using computer image analysis to build up a rostro-caudal profile for each case. The profiles revealed a significantly higher APP load in caudal parts of the corpus callosum. This supports previous nonquantitative reports in the literature and has important implications in terms of choosing where tissue should be sampled to maximize the chance of detecting axonal injury post mortem.