Increased DJ-1 expression under oxidative stress and in Alzheimer's disease brains

Stéphanie Baulac, Hope Lu, Jennifer Strahle, Ting Yang, Matthew S. Goldberg, Jie Shen, Michael G. Schlossmacher, Cynthia A. Lemere, Qun Lu, Weiming Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Mutations in the DJ-1 gene have been linked to autosomal recessive familial Parkinson's disease. To understand the function of DJ-1, we determined the DJ-1 expression in both zebrafish and post mortem human brains. We found that DJ-1 was expressed early during zebrafish development and throughout adulthood. Knock down (KD) of DJ-1 by injection of morpholino did not cause dramatic morphologic alterations during development, and no loss of dopaminergic neurons was observed in embryos lacking DJ-1. However, DJ-1 KD embryos were more susceptible to programmed cell death. While a slight reduction in staining for islet-1 positive neurons was observed in both DJ-1 KD and H2O 2treated embryos, the number of apoptotic cells was significantly increased in both KD and H2O2treated embryos. Interestingly, DJ-1 expression was increased in brains of zebrafish under conditions of oxidative stress, indicating that DJ-1 is a part of stress-responsive machinery. Since oxidative stress is one of the major contributors to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we also examined DJ-1 expression in AD brains. Using DJ-1 specific antibodies, we failed to detect a robust staining of DJ-1 in brain tissues from control subjects. However, DJ-1 immunoreactivity was detected in hippocampal pyramidal neurons and astrocytes of AD brains. Therefore, our results strongly suggest that DJ-1 expression is not necessary during zebrafish development but can be induced in zebrafish exposed to oxidative stress and is present in human AD brains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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