Amyloid fibrils were isolated from the leptomeningeal blood vessels obtained at autopsy from three Icelandic patients dying of Hereditary Cerebral Hemorrhage with Amyloidosis (HCHWA) and verified by Congo red staining and electron microscopy. Gel filtration on Sephadex and Ultrogel columns yielded predominantly one component (molecular weight 11,500 daltons) and also another minor component (molecular weight 15,800 daltons). Automated amino terminal sequencing showed these proteins to be similar (36 residues) to a recently described human protein, gamma trace, beginning at its eleventh amino terminal residue. The amyloid deposits in all three patients stained with rabbit anti-gamma trace antiserum. Although the function of gamma trace is not known, it appears to have structural homology with several hormones and has been localized to the brain, pancreas and pituitary. The amyloid fibril subunits seem to have polymerized after cleavage of the amino terminal decapeptide from gamma trace-related proteins. Therefore, HCHWA appears to be the first genetically determined disease related to the gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine system.

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