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Neuroreport. 1998 Aug 3;9(11):2437-42.

Regional calpain and caspase-3 proteolysis of alpha-spectrin after traumatic brain injury.

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The Vivian L Smith Center for Neurological Research, Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Activity of calpains and caspase-3 inferred from proteolysis of the cytoskeletal protein alpha-spectrin into signature spectrin breakdown products (SBDPs) was used to provide the first systematic and simultaneous comparison of changes in activity of these two families of cysteine proteases after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rats. Distinct regional and temporal patterns of calpain/caspase-3 processing of alpha-spectrin were observed in brain regions ipsilateral to the site of injury after TBI, including large increases of 145 kDa calpain-mediated SBDP in cortex (up to 30-fold), and enduring increases (up to 2 weeks) of 145 kDa SBDP in hippocampus and thalamus. By contrast, 120 kDa caspase-3-mediated SBDP was absent in cortex and showed up to a 2-fold increase in hippocampus and striatum at early (hours) after TBI. Future studies will clarify the pathological significance of large regional differences in activation of calpain and caspase-3 proteases after TBI.

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