The Role of Chaperone Proteins in Neurodegenerative Diseases

UoM administered thesis: Unknown

  • Authors:
  • Xuekai Zhang


Many neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the accumulation of misfolded proteins that often share common morphological and biochemical features, and can similarly co-localize with several other proteins, including various chaperone proteins. Chaperone proteins, like heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) and clusterin, have been implicated as potent modulators of misfolded proteins, thus may play important roles in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The present study aims to investigate their roles in the pathogenesis of Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and Motor neuron disease (MND) by determining their distribution and amount via immunohistochemical staining and western blotting in diseased and control subjects.There were distinct patterns of HSP27 and clusterin immunostaining in different brain regions. For HSP27, patients with AD and FTLD were in general more severely affected than were patients with MND and control subjects. For clusterin, patients with AD and FTLD were more severely affected than control subjects where neurons and glial cells were concerned, while patients with AD and control subjects were more severely affected than those with FTLD where diffuse and cored plaques were concerned. However, there were no obvious differences in the pattern of HO-1 immunostaining in various brain regions in patients with AD or FTLD relative to control subjects. Moreover, there was no association between HSP27, HO-1 and clusterin with disease or histological type, and the 'classic' neuropathological changes in FTLD, AD and MND were not immunoreactive to any of these proteins. There were significant correlations between the degrees of HO-1 and clusterin immunostaining in many brain areas for both AD and FTLD cases, and for all cases overall, but none between HSP27 and clusterin or HSP27 and HO-1. Present results suggest an involvement with ongoing cellular stress, misfolded or unfolded protein accumulation or the deficits/failure of other relevant protein quality control systems, in the pathogenesis of these neurodegenerative diseases. Present work may therefore have implications for the further development of ideas concerning the cause or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases where there is aberrant accumulation of misfolded, aggregated protein, and perhaps for conformational diseases in general. However, there are still many issues remain to be elucidated. Further research aimed at understanding the function and mechanisms of the chaperone system, and other protein quality control mechanisms, in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases is still needed.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2013