DJ-1 immunoreactivity in human brain astrocytes is dependent on infarct presence and infarct age

Steven J Mullett, Ronald L Hamilton, David A Hinkle
Neuropathology: Official Journal of the Japanese Society of Neuropathology 2009, 29 (2): 125-31
DJ-1 is a protein with anti-oxidative stress and anti-apoptotic properties that is abundantly expressed in reactive CNS astrocytes in chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Pick's disease. Genetic mutations which eliminate DJ-1 expression in humans are sufficient to produce an early-onset form of familial PD, PARK7, suggesting that DJ-1 is a critical component of the neuroprotective arsenal of the brain. Previous studies in parkinsonism/dementia brain tissues have revealed that reactive astrocytes within and surrounding incidentally identified infarcts were often robustly immunoreactive for DJ-1, especially if the infarcts showed histological features consistent with older age. Given this, we sought to evaluate astrocytic DJ-1 expression in human stroke more extensively, and with a particular emphasis on determining whether immunohistochemical DJ-1 expression in astrocytes correlates with histological infarct age. The studies presented here show that DJ-1 is abundantly expressed in reactive infarct region astrocytes in both gray and white matter, that subacute and chronic infarct region astrocytes are much more robustly DJ-1+ than are acute infarct and non-infarct region astrocytes, and that DJ-1 staining intensity in astrocytes generally correlates with that of the reactive astrocyte marker GFAP. Confocal imaging of DJ-1 and GFAP dual-labelled human brain sections were used to confirm the localization to and expression of DJ-1 in astrocytes. Neuronal DJ-1 staining was minimal under all infarct and non-infarct conditions. Our data support the conclusion that the major cellular DJ-1 response to stroke in the human brain is astrocytic, and that there is a temporal correlation between DJ-1 expression in these cells and advanced infarct age.

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