GFAP Antibodies are a 'No Brainer' for Neurodegenerative Research

Thu, 05/10/2012 - 12:20

Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is the main intermediate filament protein in mature astrocytes, but also an important component of the cytoskeleton in astrocytes during development. Recent developments using GFAP antibodies in astrocyte biology, and the discovery of novel intermediate filament functions, have enticed interest in the function of GFAP. The structural role of GFAP in astrocytes has been widely accepted for a long time, but over the years, studies using GFAP antibodies have shown GFAP to be involved in astrocyte functions, during human brain development, aging and disease (1).

Immunohistochemistry-Paraffin: GFAP Antibody Immunohistochemistry-Paraffin: GFAP Antibody

Immunohistochemical analysis using GFAP antibodies revealed up regulation of GFAP protein in older mice compared to their young counter parts in neurodegenerative disorders suggesting astrogliosis due to initial neurodegeneration (2). As a member of the cytoskeletal protein family, GFAP is thought to be important in modulating astrocyte motility and shape by providing structural stability to astrocytic processes. In the central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrates, astrocytes become reactive and respond in a typical manner, termed astrogliosis. Astrogliosis is characterized by rapid synthesis of GFAP and is demonstrated by an increase in protein content or by immunostaining with GFAP antibody. Additionally, the major application of GFAP antisera is also used routinely in astrocyte identification in the CNS. Studies using GFAP antibodies showing that mice lacking GFAP are hypersensitive to cervical spinal injury caused by sudden acceleration of the head have provided more direct evidence for a structural role of GFAP (3). While the structure and function of GFAP has become more accepted, use of GFAP antibodies continue to be valuable in studying CNS injury, disease, and development. 

  1. PMID: 21219963
  2. PMID: 21960009
  3. PMID: 9665584

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