S100B is a calcium-binding peptide produced mainly by astrocytes that exert paracrine and autocrine effects on neurons and glia. Some knowledge has been acquired from in vitro and in vivo animal experiments to understand S100B's roles in cellular energy metabolism, cytoskeleton modification, cell proliferation, and differentiation. Also, insights have been gained regarding the interaction between S100B and the cerebral immune system, and the regulation of S100B activity through serotonergic transmission. Secreted glial S100B exerts trophic or toxic effects depending on its concentration. At nanomolar concentrations, S100B stimulates neurite outgrowth and enhances survival of neurons during development. In contrast, micromolar levels of extracellular S100B in vitro stimulate the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and induce apoptosis. In animal studies, changes in the cerebral concentration of S100B cause behavioral disturbances and cognitive deficits. In humans, increased S100B has been detected with various clinical conditions. Brain trauma and ischemia is associated with increased S100B concentrations, probably due to the destruction of astrocytes. In neurodegenerative, inflammatory and psychiatric diseases, increased S100B levels may be caused by secreted S100B or release from damaged astrocytes. This review summarizes published findings on S100B regarding human brain damage and neurodegeneration. Findings from in vitro and in vivo animal experiments relevant for human neurodegenerative diseases and brain damage are reviewed together with the results of studies on traumatic, ischemic, and inflammatory brain damage as well as neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Methodological problems are discussed and perspectives for future research are outlined.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.