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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2013;6(1):41-48

Original Article
Caspase-cleaved glial fibrillary acidic protein within cerebellar white matter of the
Alzheimer’s disease brain

Troy T Rohn, Lindsey W Catlin, Wayne W Poon

Department of Biology, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, USA; Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, UC Irvine,
Irvine CA 92697, USA

Received September 17, 2012; Accepted October 25, 2012; Epub November 20, 2012; Published January 1, 2013

Abstract: Although the cerebellum is generally thought of as an area spared of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology, recent evidence suggests
that balance and mobility dysfunction may be magnified in affected individuals. In the present study, we sought to determine the degree of
pathological changes within the cerebellum utilizing an antibody that specifically detects caspase-cleaved GFAP within degenerating
astrocytes. Compared to control subjects, application of this antibody, termed the GFAP caspase-cleavage product (GFAPccp) antibody,
revealed widespread labeling in cerebellar white matter with little staining observed in grey matter. Staining was observed within damaged
astrocytes, was often localized near blood vessels and co-localized with other markers of apoptosis including TUNEL and caspase-cleaved
tau. Of interest was the association of beta-amyloid deposition in white matter together with GFAPccp in cerebellar AD sections. In contrast,
utilizing the tangle marker, PHF-1, neuritic pathology was completely absent in AD cerebellar sections. It is suggested that the observed
pathological changes found in the white matter of the cerebellum may contribute to the declined motor performance in AD. (IJCP1209010).

Keywords: GFAP, caspase, cerebellum, Alzheimer’s disease, neurofibrillary tangles, TUNEL, beta amyloid, immunohistochemistry, PHF-1

Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Troy T Rohn
Department of Biology, Science/Nursing Building
Room 228, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725
USA. Phone: (208)-426-2396; Fax: (208)-426-4267
E-mail: trohn@boisestate.edu