Spectrin Breakdown Products (SBDPs) as Potential Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Diseases
The expected lifespan of the world’s human population grows rapidly thanks to the great advance in modern medicine. While more and more body system diseases become treatable and curable, age-related neurodegenerative diseases remain poorly understood mechanistically, and are desperately in need of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Biomarker development consists of a key part of concerted efforts in combating neurodegenerative diseases. In many chronic neurodegenerative conditions, neuronal damage/death occurs long before the onset of disease symptoms, and abnormal proteolysis may either play an active role or be an accompanying event of neuronal injury. Increased spectrin cleavage yielding elevated spectrin breakdown products (SBDPs) by calcium-sensitive proteases such as calpain and caspases has been established in conditions associated with acute neuronal damage such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this article, we review literature regarding spectrin expression and metabolism in the brain, and propose a potential use of SBDPs as biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.