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Quantitative proteomic profiling of the rat substantia nigra places glial fibrillary acidic protein at the hub of proteins dysregulated during aging: Implications for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease

Gómez-Gálvez, Y; Fuller, H; Synowsky, S; Shirran, L; Gates, M


Y Gómez-Gálvez

S Synowsky

L Shirran


There is a strong correlation between aging and onset of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, but little is known about whether cellular changes occur during normal aging that may explain this association. Here, proteomic and bioinformatic analysis was conducted on the substantia nigra of rats at four stages of life to identify and quantify protein changes throughout aging. This analysis revealed that proteins associated with cell adhesion, protein aggregation and oxidative-reduction are dysregulated as early as middle age in rats. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was identified as a network hub connecting the greatest number of proteins altered during aging. Furthermore, the isoform of GFAP expressed in the substantia nigra varied throughout life. However, the expression levels of the rate-limiting enzyme for dopamine production, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), was maintained even in the oldest animals, despite a reduction in the number of dopamine neurons in the SNc as aging progressed. This age-related increase in TH expression per neuron would likely to increase the vulnerability of neurons, since increased dopamine production would be an additional source of oxidative stress. This, in turn, would place a high demand on support systems from local astrocytes, which themselves show protein changes that could affect their functionality. Taken together, this study highlights key processes that are altered with age in the rat substantia nigra, each of
which converge upon GFAP. These findings offer insight into the relationship between aging and increased challenges to neuronal viability, and indicate an important role for glial cells in the aging process.

Acceptance Date Mar 15, 2020
Publication Date May 19, 2020
Journal Journal of Neuroscience Research
Print ISSN 0360-4012
Publisher Wiley
Pages 1417-1432
Keywords glial fibrillary acidic protein, aging, dopaminergic neuron, substantia nigra, proteomics, proteome
Publisher URL