Alteration of caspases and other apoptosis regulatory proteins in Down syndrome
Apoptosis has been implicated in the selective neuronal loss of Down syndrome (DS). Apoptosis activates a family of cysteine proteases with specificity for aspartic acid residues referred to as caspases that play a key role in dismantling a cell committed to die. Caspase activity is regulated by a variety of proteins that possess a domain resembling the prodomains of caspases. Little is known, however, about the changes of caspases and their regulatory proteins in DS. Here, we investigated levels of nine such different proteins by western blot technique in frontal cortex and cerebellum of control and DS subjects. The protein levels of DFF45 (DNA fragmentation factor 45), and FLIP (FADD like interleukin-lß-converting enzyme inhibitory proteins) were significantly decreased whereas that of RICK (RIP-like interacting CLARP kinase) increased in both regions of DS. In contrast, cytochrome c, Apaf-1 (apoptosis protease activating factor-1), procaspase-9 and ARC (apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain) were unchanged. Procaspase-3 and -8 were significantly decreased in frontal cortex but no significant change was observed in cerebellum. Regression analysis revealed no correlation between postmortem interval and levels of the investigated proteins. However, inconsistent correlation was found between age and levels of proteins as well as amongst the density of individual proteins.
KeywordsFrontal Cortex Down Syndrome Postmortem Interval Death Effector Domain Caspase Recruitment Domain
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