• protease inhibitor;
  • neuronal expression;
  • neuronal development


Glia-derived nexin/protease nexin-1 (GDN/Pn-1) is a serine protease inhibitor that is secreted by glial cells and fibroblasts in culture. In the adult mammalian nervous system it has been shown to be expressed in the olfactory system and by some glial cells in response to neuronal injury. In situ hybridization and immunocytochemical studies were performed to identify the structures expressing GDN/PN-1 in the developing and adult rat brain. In contrast to a transient widespreat expression during pre-and postnatal development, some brain structures constitutively express GDN/PN-1. These include the olfactory nerve layer of the olfactory bulb, basal forebrain, striatum, pyramidal neurons of layer V in the cortex, thalamic nuclei, pars compacta of the substantia nigra, inferior and superior colliculi, and deep cerebellar nuclei. All of these parts, excluding the olfactory nerve layer, are characterized by a high neuronal cell density. Neurons in these regions were immunoreactive for GDN/PN-1. Furthermore GDN/PN-1 expression in cell lines showed that the active protein was synthesized and secreted from B104 but not from NB2a neuroblastoma cells. Although GDN/PN-1 has only been reported to be synthesized by glia, the results presented here demonstrate that in addition, a subset of neurons express this protease inhibitor. © Wiley-Liss, Inc.