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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2001 May;60(5):449-61.

Fibroblasts can express glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in vivo.

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Institute of Neurology, University of Vienna, Austria.


Neuropathologists use anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) antibodies as specific markers for glial cells, and neurobiologists use GFAP for targeting transgenes to glial cells. Since GFAP has also been detected in non-glial cells, we systematically analyzed GFAP expression in human and murine non-CNS tissues using a panel of anti-GFAP antibodies. In human tissues we confirm previously observed GFAP expression in Schwann cells, myoepithelial cells, and chondrocytes, and show for the first time GFAP expression in fibroblasts of epiglottic and auricular perichondrium, ligamentum flavum, and cardiac valves. In mice we show GFAP expression in Schwann cells, bone marrow stromal cells, chondrocytes, and in fibroblasts of dura mater, skull and spinal perichondrium, and periosteum, connective stroma of oral cavity, dental pulp, and cardiac valves. Anti-GFAP immunoblotting of human non-CNS tissues reveals protein bands with a molecular mass ranging between approximately 35 and approximately 42 kDa. In GFAP-v-src transgenic mice, whose oncogenic v-src transgene transforms GFAP expressing cells, non-CNS tumors originate from fibroblasts. We conclude that human and murine fibroblasts can express GFAP in vivo. The somatic distribution of GFAP expressing fibroblasts indicates origin from the neural crest. Development of non-CNS tumors from fibroblasts in GFAP-v-src mice functionally confirms GFAP expression in these cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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