Background: CHI3L1 (YKL-40) is up-regulated in a variety of inflammatory conditions and cancers. We have previously reported elevated CHI3L1 concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of human and non-human primates with lentiviral encephalitis and using immunohistochemistry showed that CHI3L1 was associated with astrocytes.
Methods: In the current study CHI3L1 transcription and expression were evaluated in a variety of acute and chronic human neurological diseases.
Results: ELISA revealed significant elevation of CHI3L1 in the CSF of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients as well as mild elevation with aging. In situ hybridization (ISH) showed CHI3L1 transcription mostly associated with reactive astrocytes, that was more pronounced in inflammatory conditions like lentiviral encephalitis and MS. Comparison of CHI3L1 expression in different stages of brain infarction showed that YKL40 was abundantly expressed in astrocytes during acute phases and diminished to low levels in chronic infarcts.
Conclusions: Taken together, these findings demonstrate that CHI3L1 is induced in astrocytes in a variety of neurological diseases but that it is most abundantly associated with astrocytes in regions of inflammatory cells.