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The intact postsynaptic protein neurogranin is reduced in brain tissue from patients with familial and sporadic Alzheimer's disease.

Journal article
Authors Hlin Kvartsberg
Tammaryn Lashley
Christina E Murray
Gunnar Brinkmalm
Nicholas C Cullen
Kina Höglund
Henrik Zetterberg
Kaj Blennow
Erik Portelius
Published in Acta neuropathologica
Volume 137
Issue 1
Pages 89–102
ISSN 1432-0533
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 89–102
Language en
Subject categories Neurobiology, Neurobiology


Synaptic degeneration and neuronal loss are early events in Alzheimer's disease (AD), occurring long before symptom onset, thus making synaptic biomarkers relevant for enabling early diagnosis. The postsynaptic protein neurogranin (Ng) is a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker for AD, also in the prodromal phase. Here we tested the hypothesis that during AD neurodegeneration, processing of full-length Ng into endogenous peptides in the brain is increased. We characterized Ng in post-mortem brain tissue and investigated the levels of endogenous Ng peptides in relation to full-length protein in brain tissue of patients with sporadic (sAD) and familial Alzheimer's disease (fAD), healthy controls and individuals who were cognitively unaffected but amyloid-positive (CU-AP) in two different brain regions. Brain tissue from parietal cortex [sAD (n = 10) and age-matched controls (n = 10)] and temporal cortex [sAD (n = 9), fAD (n = 10), CU-AP (n = 13) and controls (n = 9)] were included and all the samples were analyzed by three different methods. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, 39 endogenous Ng peptides were identified while full-length Ng was found to be modified including disulfide bridges or glutathione. In sAD parietal cortex, the ratio of peptide-to-total full-length Ng was significantly increased for eight endogenous Ng peptides compared to controls. In the temporal cortex, several of the peptide-to-total full-length Ng ratios were increased in both sAD and fAD cases compared to controls and CU-AP. This finding was confirmed by western blot, which mainly detects full-length Ng, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, most likely detecting a mix of peptides and full-length Ng. In addition, Ng was significantly associated with the degree of amyloid and tau pathology. These results suggest that processing of Ng into peptides is increased in AD brain tissue, which may reflect the ongoing synaptic degeneration, and which is also mirrored as increased levels of Ng peptides in CSF.

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