Glial fibrillary acidic protein: from intermediate filament assembly and gliosis to neurobiomarker

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Jun;38(6):364-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 May 11.


Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is an intermediate filament (IF) III protein uniquely found in astrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS), non-myelinating Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), and enteric glial cells. GFAP mRNA expression is regulated by several nuclear-receptor hormones, growth factors, and lipopolysaccharides (LPSs). GFAP is also subject to numerous post-translational modifications (PTMs), while GFAP mutations result in protein deposits known as Rosenthal fibers in Alexander disease. GFAP gene activation and protein induction appear to play a critical role in astroglial cell activation (astrogliosis) following CNS injuries and neurodegeneration. Emerging evidence also suggests that, following traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and stroke, GFAP and its breakdown products are rapidly released into biofluids, making them strong candidate biomarkers for such neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism*
  • Gliosis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filaments / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein