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Although the cerebellum is generally thought of as an area spared of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, recent evidence suggests that balance and mobility dysfunction may be magnified in affected individuals. In the present study, we sought to determine the degree of pathological changes within the cerebellum utilizing an antibody that specifically detects caspase-cleaved GFAP within degenerating astrocytes. Compared to control subjects, application of this antibody, termed the GFAP caspase-cleavage product (GFAPccp) antibody, revealed widespread labeling in cerebellar white matter with little staining observed in grey matter. Staining was observed within damaged astrocytes, was often localized near blood vessels and co-localized with other markers of apoptosis including TUNEL and caspase-cleaved tau. Of interest was the association of beta-amyloid deposition in white matter together with GFAPccp in cerebellar AD sections. In contrast, utilizing the tangle marker, PHF-1, neuritic pathology was completely absent in AD cerebellar sections. It is suggested that the observed pathological changes found in the white matter of the cerebellum may contribute to the declined motor performance in AD.

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This document was originally published in International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology . This work is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license. Details regarding the use of this work can be found at:

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