Paraneoplastic CDR2 and CDR2L antibodies affect Purkinje cell calcium homeostasis

Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Dec;128(6):835-52. doi: 10.1007/s00401-014-1351-6. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) is characterized by loss of Purkinje cells (PCs) associated with progressive pancerebellar dysfunction in the presence of onconeural Yo antibodies. These antibodies recognize the cerebellar degeneration-related antigens CDR2 and CDR2L. Response to PCD therapy is disappointing due to limited understanding of the neuropathological mechanisms. Here, we report the pathological role of CDR antibodies on the calcium homeostasis in PCs. We developed an antibody-mediated PCD model based on co-incubation of cerebellar organotypic slice culture with human patient serum or rabbit CDR2 and CDR2L antibodies. The CDR antibody-induced pathology was investigated by high-resolution multiphoton imaging and biochemical analysis. Both human and rabbit CDR antibodies were rapidly internalized by PCs and led to reduced immunoreactivity of calbindin D28K (CB) and L7/Pcp-2 as well as reduced dendritic arborizations in the remaining PCs. Washout of the CDR antibodies partially recovered CB immunoreactivity, suggesting a transient structural change in CB calcium-binding site. We discovered that CDR2 and CB co-immunoprecipitate. Furthermore, the expression levels of voltage-gated calcium channel Cav2.1, protein kinase C gamma and calcium-dependent protease, calpain-2, were increased after CDR antibody internalization. Inhibition of these signaling pathways prevented or attenuated CDR antibody-induced CB and L7/Pcp-2 immunoreactivity loss, morphological changes and increased protein expression. These results signify that CDR antibody internalization causes dysregulation of cell calcium homeostasis. Hence, drugs that modulate these events may represent novel neuroprotective therapies that limit the damaging effects of CDR antibodies and prevent PC neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Autoantigens / metabolism
  • Calbindin 1 / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / metabolism
  • Calpain / metabolism
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / immunology*
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / pathology
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Purkinje Cells / immunology*
  • Purkinje Cells / pathology
  • Rabbits
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Culture Techniques


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • CDR2 protein, human
  • CDR2L antigen, human
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Pcp2 protein, rat
  • voltage-dependent calcium channel (P-Q type)
  • protein kinase C gamma
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Calpain
  • Capn2 protein, rat
  • Calcium