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Front Neurol. 2011 Apr 25;2:24. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2011.00024. eCollection 2011.

Proteomic analysis of hippocampal dentate granule cells in frontotemporal lobar degeneration: application of laser capture technology.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Emory University , Atlanta, GA, USA.


Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is the most common cause of dementia with pre-senile onset, accounting for as many as 20% of cases. A common subset of FTLD cases is characterized by the presence of ubiquitinated inclusions in vulnerable neurons (FTLD-U). While the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in FTLD-U have not yet been elucidated, the presence of inclusions in this disease indicates enhanced aggregation of one or several proteins. Moreover, these inclusions suggest altered expression, processing, or degradation of proteins during FTLD-U pathogenesis. Thus, one approach to understanding disease mechanisms is to delineate the molecular changes in protein composition in FTLD-U brain. Using a combined approach consisting of laser capture microdissection (LCM) and high-resolution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identified 1252 proteins in hippocampal dentate granule cells excised from three post-mortem FTLD-U and three unaffected control cases processed in parallel. Additionally, we employed a labeling-free quantification technique to compare the abundance of the identified proteins between FTLD-U and control cases. Quantification revealed 54 proteins with selective enrichment in FTLD-U, including TAR-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), a recently identified component of ubiquitinated inclusions. Moreover, 19 proteins were selectively decreased in FTLD-U. Subsequent immunohistochemical analysis of TDP-43 and three additional protein candidates suggests that our proteomic profiling of FTLD-U dentate granule cells reveals both inclusion-associated proteins and non-aggregated disease-specific proteins. Application of LCM is a valuable tool in the molecular analysis of complex tissues, and its application in the proteomic characterization of neurodegenerative disorders such as FTLD-U may be used to identify proteins altered in disease.


dementia; laser capture microdissection; mass spectrometry; neurodegeneration; ubiquitin

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