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Exp Neurol. 2001 Jan;167(1):86-94.

Postmortem changes in the level of brain proteins.

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Pharmaceutical Research, Genomics Technologies, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd., Basel, Switzerland.


A systematic study on postmortem changes of brain proteins has not been performed so far and information is limited to basic principles of specific or nonspecific proteolysis or proteolysis of individual proteins. We studied protein level alterations in rat brain of animals kept at 23 degrees C for several postmortem times up to 72 h. Brain tissue protein extracts were analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis and the proteins with different levels were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. The changes observed mainly concerned structural proteins and enzymes. The levels of dihydropyrimidinase-related protein-2 decreased within 6 h and two new spots were detected representing shorter forms of the protein. Most of the other alterations appeared about 48 h postmortem. The most significant were reduced levels of neurofilament, alpha-internexin, synaptosomal-associated protein 25, glial fibrillary acidic protein, heat shock proteins, and dynamin-1; increased levels of 14-3-3 proteins and spectrin; and generation of shorter forms of certain proteins, such as tubulins, actin, and serum albumin. The results may be useful in neuropathology and brain protein studies.

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