Abnormal accumulation of tTgase products in muscle and erythrocytes of chorea-acanthocytosis patients

Mariarosa A B Melone, Giuseppe Di Fede, Gianfranco Peluso, Giacomo Lus, Giuseppe Di Iorio, Simone Sampaolo, Antonio Capasso, Vittorio Gentile, Roberto Cotrufo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chorea-Acanthocytosis (CHAC) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by neurodegeneration and acanthocytosis. Enhanced creatine kinase concentration is a constant feature of the condition. The mechanism underlying CHAC is unknown. However, acanthocytosis and enhanced creatine kinase suggest a protein defect that deranges the membrane-cytoskeleton interface in erythrocytes and muscle, thereby resulting in neurodegeneration. Acanthocytes have been correlated with structural and functional changes in membrane protein band 3 - a ubiquitous anion transporter. Residue Gln-30 of band 3 serves as a membrane substrate for tissue transglutaminase (tTGase), which belongs to a class of intra- and extra-cellular Ca2+-dependent cross-linking enzymes found in most vertebrate tissues. In an attempt to cast light on the pathophysiology of CHAC, we used reverse-phase HPLC and immunohistochemistry to evaluate the role of tTGase in this disorder. We found increased amounts of tTGase-derived Nε-(-γ-glutamyl)lysine isopeptide cross-links in erythrocytes and muscle from CHAC patients. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry demonstrated abnormal accumulation of tTGase products as well as proteinaceous bodies in CHAC muscles. These findings could explain the mechanisms underlying the increased blood levels of creatine kinase and acanthocytosis, which are the most consistent features of this neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002


  • Chorea-Acanthocytosis
  • Erythrocytes
  • Muscle
  • N-(-γ- glutamyl)lysine isopeptide
  • tTGase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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