Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2020;9(4):217-221. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2020.03080)

Reactive astrocytes express Aggregatin (FAM222A) in the brains of Alzheimer's disease and Nasu-Hakola disease

Satoh J, Kino Y, Yanaizu M, Ishida T, Saito Y


By combining genomic data and brain imaging data, a recent study has identified a novel gene named FAM222A that participates in the formation of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease (AD). FAM222A encodes a 47-kDa protein designated Aggregatin that accumulates in the center of amyloid plaques and physically interacts with Aβ to facilitate Aβ aggregation. Aggregatin is expressed predominantly in the central nervous system (CNS) and its levels are increased in brains of the patients with AD and in mouse models of AD. However, at present, the precise cell types that express Aggregatin in the human CNS remain unknown. By immunohistochemistry, we studied Aggregatin expression in the frontal lobe of the patients with AD, Nasu-Hakola disease (NHD), and the subjects who died of non-neurological causes (NNC). We identified the clusters of Aggregatin-positive reactive astrocytes distributed widely in the cerebral cortex of most cases examined. In contrast, small numbers of cortical neurons showed variable immunoreactivities for Aggregatin, whereas microglia and oligodendrocytes did not express Aggregatin. Importantly, amyloid plaques were not clearly labelled with anti-Aggregatin antibody. These results suggest that Aggregatin plays a primarily role in generation of reactive astrocytes in the human CNS.

KEYWORDS: Aggregatin, Alzheimer's disease, amyloid plaque, FAM222A, Nasu-Hakola disease, reactive astrocytes

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