Neurofilaments (NFs) are ~10 nanometer, type IV intermediate filaments expressed in neurons. NFs are the major components of the neuronal cytoskeleton, and primarily function to provide structural support for axons and regulate axonal diameter. There are three major mammalian neurofilament subunits, which are named based on their apparent molecular weight: 1) neurofilament light (NF-L, ~70 kD), 2) neurofilament medium (NF-M, ~145-160 kD), and 3) neurofilament heavy (NF-H, ~200-220 kD). Neurofilaments are extensively phosphorylated, and their phosphorylation status plays an important role in modulation of their function. Abnormal NF modifications, mutations, and accumulation have been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. NF immunostaining is commonly used as a diagnostic marker for neuropathology detection. NFs are also useful for differentiating neurons (positive for NF) from glia (negative for NF).
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