Pathological properties of the Parkinson's disease-associated protein DJ-1 in alpha-synucleinopathies and tauopathies: relevance for multiple system atrophy and Pick's disease

Acta Neuropathol. 2004 Jun;107(6):489-96. doi: 10.1007/s00401-004-0834-2. Epub 2004 Feb 26.


Mutations in the PARK7 gene DJ-1 are associated with recessive hereditary Parkinson's disease (PD). Fibrillar inclusions of alpha-synuclein comprise the neuropathological hallmarks of PD and related Lewy body diseases as well as multiple system atrophy (MSA). Moreover, neuronal and glial inclusions containing tau have been observed in alpha-synucleinopathy patients. Using a collection of antibodies against DJ-1, we have performed a comprehensive investigation of DJ-1 in alpha-synucleinopathies and tauopathies. DJ-1 was abundantly expressed in reactive astrocytes of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Likewise, DJ-1 antiserum immunostained reactive astrocytes that became abundant with disease progression in the brain stem of transgenic mice expressing mutant [A30P]alpha-synuclein. Human Lewy bodies as well as Lewy body-like inclusions in the alpha-synuclein transgenic mice were DJ-1 negative. Neuronal tau inclusions were DJ-1 immunopositive in Pick's disease (PiD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, we found DJ-1-immunopositive glial inclusions in CBD, PSP and MSA. Biochemical extraction experiments revealed the specific presence of insoluble, modified DJ-1 in PiD and MSA. Our results suggest that DJ-1 is up-regulated in reactive astrocytes as well as in neuronal and glial cells with specific alpha-synucleinopathy and tauopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Epitope Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy / metabolism*
  • Multiple System Atrophy / pathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pick Disease of the Brain / metabolism*
  • Pick Disease of the Brain / pathology
  • Protein Deglycase DJ-1
  • Synucleins
  • Tauopathies / metabolism*
  • Tauopathies / pathology
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • SNCA protein, human
  • Snca protein, mouse
  • Synucleins
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • tau Proteins
  • PARK7 protein, human
  • Protein Deglycase DJ-1