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J Neurochem. 2008 Jan;104(2):287-97. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Progranulin: normal function and role in neurodegeneration.

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Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.


Progranulin (PGRN) is a multifunctional protein that has attracted significant attention in the neuroscience community following the recent discovery of PGRN mutations in some cases of frontotemporal dementia. Most of the pathogenic mutations result in null alleles, and it is thought that frontotemporal dementia in these families results from PGRN haploinsufficiency. The neuropathology associated with PGRN mutations is characterized by the presence of tau-negative, ubiquitin-immunoreactive neuronal inclusions (frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions) that are also positive for the transactivation response DNA binding protein with M(r) 43 kD. The clinical phenotype includes behavioral abnormalities, language disorders and parkinsonism but not motor neuron disease. There is significant clinical variation between families with different PGRN mutations and among members of individual families. The normal function of PGRN is complex, with the full-length form of the protein having trophic and anti-inflammatory activity, whereas proteolytic cleavage generates granulin peptides that promote inflammatory activity. In the periphery, PGRN functions in wound healing responses and modulates inflammatory events. In the CNS, PGRN is expressed by neurons and microglia; consequently, reduced levels of PGRN could affect both neuronal survival and CNS inflammatory processes. In this review, we discuss current knowledge of the molecular genetics, neuropathology, clinical phenotype and functional aspects of PGRN in the context of neurodegenerative disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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