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Clin Chim Acta. 2003 Mar;329(1-2):1-8.

Role of kallikrein enzymes in the central nervous system.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Kallikreins are a subgroup of the serine protease family of enzymes. Until recently, it was thought that the human kallikrein gene family includes only three members. Over the past 3 years, the human kallikrein gene locus on chromosome 19q13.4 has been characterized. This family includes 15 members for which new nomenclature has been established. A number of kallikreins are expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). Experimental evidence has shown that at least two kallikreins, KLK6 and KLK8, have potential functions in the CNS. KLK8 (neuropsin) is highly expressed in brain tissues and may play a role in brain development, plasticity and response to stress. Of particular interest is the possible involvement of kallikreins in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). KLK6 (zyme/protease M/neurosin) seems to be down regulated in serum and tissues of Alzheimer's disease patients and may be involved in amyloid metabolism.

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