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J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(2):409-22. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1062.

Altered subcellular distribution of c-Abl in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, BST S-420, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


c-Abl is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that participates in multiple signaling pathways linking the cell surface, cytoskeleton, and the nucleus. Recent in vitro studies have also linked c-Abl to amyloid-beta-induced toxicity and tau phosphorylation. To further characterize a potential role of c-Abl in Alzheimer's disease (AD), we examined the expression and distribution of total and phosphorylated forms of c-Abl in the hippocampus of AD and control subjects. Laser scanning confocal microscopy was used to examine the colocalization of c-Abl with AD pathology. Our results demonstrate alterations in the presence and distribution of c-Abl and phosphorylated isoforms of c-Abl within the hippocampus during AD. Total unphosphorylated c-Abl was highest in non-demented control hippocampus. Activated isoforms of c-Abl were most abundant in AD hippocampus and co-localized with AD pathology, including granulovacuolar degeneration bodies, c-Abl interacts with phosphorylated tau in AD brain and may contribute to the formation of tau pathology. These studies demonstrate altered activation and distribution of c-Abl during AD, suggesting a role for c-Abl in Abeta signal transduction and generation of tau pathology in AD.

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