Calpastatin levels affect calpain activation and calpain proteolytic activity in APP transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Tali Vaisid, Nechama S. Kosower*, Aviva Katzav, Joab Chapman, Sivia Barnoy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The intracellular Ca2+-dependent protease calpain and the specific calpain endogenous inhibitor calpastatin are widely distributed, with the calpastatin/calpain ratio varying among tissues and species. Increased Ca2+ and calpain activation have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD), with scant data available on calpastatin/calpain ratio in AD. Information is lacking on calpain activation and calpastatin levels in transgenic mice that exhibit AD-like pathology. We studied calpain and calpastatin in Tg2576 mice and in their wild type littermates (control mice). We found that in control mice calpastatin level varies among brain regions; it is significantly higher in the cerebellum than in the hippocampus, frontal and temporal cortex, whereas calpain levels are similar in all these regions. In the Tg2576 mice, calpain is activated, calpastatin is diminished, and calpain-dependent proteolysis is observed in brain regions affected in AD and in transgenic mice (especially hippocampus). In contrast, no differences are observed between the Tg2576 and the control mice in the cerebellum, which does not exhibit AD-like pathology. The results are consistent with the notion that a high level of calpastatin in the cerebellum renders the calpain in this brain region less liable to be activated; in the other brain parts, in which calpastatin is low, calpain is more easily activated in the presence of increased Ca2+, and in turn the activated calpain leads to further diminution in calpastatin (a known calpain substrate). The results indicate that calpastatin is an important factor in the regulation of calpain-induced protein degradation in the brains of the affected mice, and imply a role for calpastatin in attenuating AD pathology. Promoting calpastatin expression may be used to ameliorate some manifestations of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalNeurochemistry International
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Nov 2007


FundersFunder number
Leina & Abe Sank and Naomi & Barney Sank fund


    • Alzheimer's disease
    • Calpain
    • Calpastatin
    • Mutant-APP transgenic mouse
    • Protein degradation
    • Tg2576


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