Clusterin in neurological disorders: molecular perspectives and clinical relevance.
ABSTRACT Firstly discovered in rete testis fluid, clusterin is a glycoprotein present in most of the other biological fluids. Several isoforms of clusterin are encoded from a single gene located on chromosome 8 in human species. Among the different isoforms, the secreted form of clusterin is expressed by a variety of tissues, including the nervous system under normal conditions. This form is presumed to play an anti-apoptotic role and seems to be a major determinant in cell survival and neuroplasticity after stroke. In animal models of this pathology, both neuronal and astroglial subpopulations express high levels of clusterin early after the ischemic damage. Recent lines of evidence point also to its possible involvement in neurodegenerative disorders. It is thought that in Alzheimer's disease the association between amyloidogenic peptides and clusterin contributes to limit Aβ species misfolding and facilitates their clearance from the extracellular space. Thus, intercellular and intracellular factors that modulate local clusterin expression in the nervous system may represent potent targets for neurodegenerative disease therapies. In this review we provide a critical overview of the most recent data on the involvement of clusterin in neurodegenerative diseases with special reference to their putative clinical relevance.