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1.  Isolation of Neural Progenitor Cells From the Human Adult Subventricular Zone Based on Expression of the Cell Surface Marker CD271 
A method was developed to specifically isolate neural progenitor cells (NPCs) from postmortem adult human brains based on the expression of the specific human adult neural stem/progenitor cell marker glial fibrillary acidic protein δ. This study shows that a pure population of NPCs can be isolated from the adult human subventricular zone (SVZ), which is highly instrumental for developing future therapies based on stimulating endogenous SVZ neurogenesis.
Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in the subventricular zone (SVZ) hold promise for future therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, because the stimulation of adult neurogenesis could potentially restore the function of degenerating neurons and glia. To obtain more knowledge on these NPCs, we developed a method to specifically isolate NPCs from postmortem adult human brains based on the expression of the specific human adult neural stem/progenitor cell marker glial fibrillary acidic protein δ (GFAPδ). An extensive immunophenotyping analysis for cell surface markers resulted in the observation that CD271 was limited to the SVZ-derived GFAPδ-positive cells. CD271+ cells developed into neurospheres and could be differentiated into astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. We are the first to show that a pure population of NPCs can be isolated from the adult human SVZ, which is highly instrumental for developing future therapies based on stimulating endogenous SVZ neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3973708  PMID: 24604282
Glial fibrillary acidic protein delta; Neurodegenerative disorders; Specific isolation; Human adult neural progenitor cells; Subventricular zone
2.  GFAP Isoforms in Adult Mouse Brain with a Focus on Neurogenic Astrocytes and Reactive Astrogliosis in Mouse Models of Alzheimer Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42823.
Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is the main astrocytic intermediate filament (IF). GFAP splice isoforms show differential expression patterns in the human brain. GFAPδ is preferentially expressed by neurogenic astrocytes in the subventricular zone (SVZ), whereas GFAP+1 is found in a subset of astrocytes throughout the brain. In addition, the expression of these isoforms in human brain material of epilepsy, Alzheimer and glioma patients has been reported. Here, for the first time, we present a comprehensive study of GFAP isoform expression in both wild-type and Alzheimer Disease (AD) mouse models. In cortex, cerebellum, and striatum of wild-type mice, transcripts for Gfap-α, Gfap-β, Gfap-γ, Gfap-δ, Gfap-κ, and a newly identified isoform Gfap-ζ, were detected. Their relative expression levels were similar in all regions studied. GFAPα showed a widespread expression whilst GFAPδ distribution was prominent in the SVZ, rostral migratory stream (RMS), neurogenic astrocytes of the subgranular zone (SGZ), and subpial astrocytes. In contrast to the human SVZ, we could not establish an unambiguous GFAPδ localization in proliferating cells of the mouse SVZ. In APPswePS1dE9 and 3xTgAD mice, plaque-associated reactive astrocytes had increased transcript levels of all detectable GFAP isoforms and low levels of a new GFAP isoform, Gfap-ΔEx7. Reactive astrocytes in AD mice showed enhanced GFAPα and GFAPδ immunolabeling, less frequently increased vimentin and nestin, but no GFAPκ or GFAP+1 staining. In conclusion, GFAPδ protein is present in SVZ, RMS, and neurogenic astrocytes of the SGZ, but also outside neurogenic niches. Furthermore, differential GFAP isoform expression is not linked with aging or reactive gliosis. This evidence points to the conclusion that differential regulation of GFAP isoforms is not involved in the reorganization of the IF network in reactive gliosis or in neurogenesis in the mouse brain.
PMCID: PMC3418292  PMID: 22912745
3.  Dementia in Parkinson's Disease Correlates with α-Synuclein Pathology but Not with Cortical Astrogliosis 
Parkinson's Disease  2012;2012:420957.
Dementia is a common feature in Parkinson's disease (PD) and is considered to be the result of limbic and cortical Lewy bodies and/or Alzheimer changes. Astrogliosis may also affect the development of dementia, since it correlates well with declining cognition in Alzheimer patients. Thus, we determined whether cortical astrogliosis occurs in PD, whether it is related to dementia, and whether this is reflected by the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We have examined these proteins by immunohistochemistry in the frontal cortex and by Western blot in CSF of cases with PD, PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and nondemented controls. We were neither able to detect an increase in cortical astrogliosis in PD, PDD, or DLB nor could we observe a correlation between the extent of astrogliosis and the degree of dementia. The levels of GFAP and vimentin in CSF did not correlate to the extent of astrogliosis or dementia. We did confirm the previously identified positive correlation between the presence of cortical Lewy bodies and dementia in PD. In conclusion, we have shown that cortical astrogliosis is not associated with the cognitive decline in Lewy body-related dementia.
PMCID: PMC3347756  PMID: 22577599
4.  A Cyclic Undecamer Peptide Mimics a Turn in Folded Alzheimer Amyloid β and Elicits Antibodies against Oligomeric and Fibrillar Amyloid and Plaques 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19110.
The 39- to 42-residue amyloid β (Aβ) peptide is deposited in extracellular fibrillar plaques in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Vaccination with these peptides seems to be a promising approach to reduce the plaque load but results in a dominant antibody response directed against the N-terminus. Antibodies against the N-terminus will capture Aβ immediately after normal physiological processing of the amyloid precursor protein and therefore will also reduce the levels of non-misfolded Aβ, which might have a physiologically relevant function. Therefore, we have targeted an immune response on a conformational neo-epitope in misfolded amyloid that is formed in advance of Aβ-aggregation. A tetanus toxoid-conjugate of the 11-meric cyclic peptide Aβ(22–28)-YNGK′ elicited specific antibodies in Balb/c mice. These antibodies bound strongly to the homologous cyclic peptide-bovine serum albumin conjugate, but not to the homologous linear peptide-conjugate, as detected in vitro by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The antibodies also bound—although more weakly—to Aβ(1–42) oligomers as well as fibrils in this assay. Finally, the antibodies recognized Aβ deposits in AD mouse and human brain tissue as established by immunohistological staining. We propose that the cyclic peptide conjugate might provide a lead towards a vaccine that could be administered before the onset of AD symptoms. Further investigation of this hypothesis requires immunization of transgenic AD model mice.
PMCID: PMC3079747  PMID: 21526148
5.  Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Filaments Can Tolerate the Incorporation of Assembly-compromised GFAP-δ, but with Consequences for Filament Organization and αB-Crystallin Association 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(10):4521-4533.
The glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) gene is alternatively spliced to give GFAP-α, the most abundant isoform, and seven other differentially expressed transcripts including GFAP-δ. GFAP-δ has an altered C-terminal domain that renders it incapable of self-assembly in vitro. When titrated with GFAP-α, assembly was restored providing GFAP-δ levels were kept low (∼10%). In a range of immortalized and transformed astrocyte derived cell lines and human spinal cord, we show that GFAP-δ is naturally part of the endogenous intermediate filaments, although levels were low (∼10%). This suggests that GFAP filaments can naturally accommodate a small proportion of assembly-compromised partners. Indeed, two other assembly-compromised GFAP constructs, namely enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)-tagged GFAP and the Alexander disease–causing GFAP mutant, R416W GFAP both showed similar in vitro assembly characteristics to GFAP-δ and could also be incorporated into endogenous filament networks in transfected cells, providing expression levels were kept low. Another common feature was the increased association of αB-crystallin with the intermediate filament fraction of transfected cells. These studies suggest that the major physiological role of the assembly-compromised GFAP-δ splice variant is as a modulator of the GFAP filament surface, effecting changes in both protein– and filament–filament associations as well as Jnk phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC2555932  PMID: 18685083
6.  Clonal Expansion of Staphylococcus epidermidis Strains Causing Hickman Catheter-Related Infections in a Hemato-Oncologic Department 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(9):2696-2702.
The detailed analysis of 411 strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) obtained from 40 neutropenic hemato-oncologic patients (61 Hickman catheter episodes) on intensive chemotherapy is described. By random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, a total of 88 different genotypes were detected: 51 in air samples and 30 in skin cultures prior to insertion, 12 in blood cultures after insertion, and only 5 involved in catheter-related infections (CRI). Two RAPD genotypes of Staphylococcus epidermidis predominated, and their prevalence increased during patient hospitalization. At insertion, these clones constituted 11 of 86 (13%) CoNS isolated from air samples and 33 of 75 (44%) CoNS isolated from skin cultures. After insertion, their combined prevalence increased to 33 of 62 (53%) in catheters not associated with CRI and 139 of 188 (74%) in catheters associated with CRI (P = 0.0041). These two predominant S. epidermidis clones gave rise to a very high incidence of CRI (6.0 per 1,000 catheter days) and a very high catheter removal rate for CRI, 70%, despite prompt treatment with vancomycin. A likely source of S. epidermidis strains involved in CRI appeared to be the skin flora in 75% of cases. The validity of these observations was confirmed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of SmaI DNA macrorestriction fragments of blood culture CoNS isolates. Again, two predominant CoNS genotypes were found (combined prevalence, 60%). RAPD and PFGE yielded concordant results in 75% of cases. Retrospectively, the same two predominant CoNS clones were also found among blood culture CoNS isolates from the same hematology department in the period 1991 to 1993 (combined prevalence, 42%) but not in the period 1978 to 1982. These observations underscore the pathogenic potential of clonal CoNS types that have successfully and persistently colonized patients in this hemato-oncology department.
PMCID: PMC105186  PMID: 9705416

Results 1-6 (6)