Cell adhesion molecule CD44 is dispensable for reactive astrocyte activation during prion disease

Barry Bradford*, Lauryn Walmsley-Rowe, Joe Reynolds, Nick Verity, Neil Mabbott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Prion diseases are fatal, infectious, neurodegenerative disorders resulting from accumulation of misfolded cellular prion protein in the brain. Early pathological changes during CNS prion disease also include reactive astrocyte activation with increased CD44 expression, microgliosis, as well as loss of dendritic spines and synapses. CD44 is a multifunctional cell surface adhesion and signalling molecule
which is considered to play roles in astrocyte morphology and the maintenance of dendritic spine integrity and synaptic plasticity. However, the role of CD44 in prion disease was unknown. Here we used mice deficient in CD44 to determine the role of CD44 during prion disease. We show that CD44-deficient mice displayed no difference in their response to CNS prion infection when compared to wild type mice. Furthermore, the reactive astrocyte activation and microgliosis that accompanies CNS prion infection was unimpaired in the absence of CD44. Together, our data show that although CD44 expression is upregulated in reactive astrocytes during CNS prion disease, it is dispensable for astrocyte and microglial activation and the development of prion neuropathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13749
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • prion disease
  • astrocyte
  • microglia
  • cell adhesion molecule CD44
  • neurodegeneration


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