Osteopontin (OPN) is a glycophosphoprotein expressed by several cell types and has pro-adhesive, chemotactic, and cytokine-like properties. OPN is involved in a number of physiologic and pathologic events including angiogenesis, apoptosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, remyelination, wound healing, bone remodeling, cell migration and tumorigenesis. Since these functions of OPN, and the events that it regulates, are involved with neurodegeneration, we examined whether OPN was differentially expressed in the hippocampus of the Alzheimers disease (AD) compared with agematched (59-93 years) control brain. We report for the first time the immunocytochemical localization of OPN in the cytoplasm of pyramidal neurons. In AD brains, there was a significant 41 % increase in the expression of neuron OPN compared with age-matched control brain. No staining of other neuronal cell types was observed. Additionally, there was a significant positive correlation between OPN staining intensity and both amyloid-β load (r2 = 0.25; P < 0.05; n = 20) and aging (r2 = 0.32; P < 0.01; n = 20) among all control and AD subjects. Controlling for age indicated that OPN expression was significantly influenced by amyloid-β load, but not age. While the functional consequences of this amyloid-β associated increase in OPN expression are unclear, it is notable that OPN is primarily localized to those neurons that are known to be vulnerable to AD-related neurite loss, degeneration and death. Given that the induction of OPN expression (and amyloid-β generation) is associated with remodeling and tumorigenesis, our results suggest that OPN may play a role in the aberrant re-entry of neurons into the cell cycle and/or neuronal remyelination in AD.
Keywords: Osteopontin, tumorigenesis, remodeling, repair, inflammation, amyloid-β, neuron, Alzheimer's disease, aging, cell cycle
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