Molecular And Cellular Neuroscience
Chromogranin B (CGB) is a high capacity, low affinity calcium binding protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that binds to the inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate receptor (InsP3R) and amplifies calcium release from ER stores. Recently, it was discovered that levels of CGB-derived peptides are decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. One of the mechanisms by which neurodegeneration in MS is thought to occur is through increased levels of intra-axonal calcium. The combination of excess intracellular calcium and dysregulated levels of CGB in MS led us to hypothesize that CGB may be involved in MS pathophysiology. Here, we show in a mouse model of MS that CGB levels are elevated in neurons prior to onset of symptoms. Once symptoms develop, CGB protein levels increase with disease severity. Additionally, we show that elevated levels of CGB may have a role in the pathophysiology of MS and suggest that the initial elevation of CGB, prior to symptom onset, is due to inflammatory processes. Upon development of symptoms, CGB accumulation in neurons results from decreased ubiquitination and decreased secretion. Furthermore, we show that calpain activity is increased and levels of InsP3R are decreased. From these results, we suggest that the elevated levels of CGB and altered InsP3R levels may contribute to the axonal/neuronal damage and dysregulated calcium homeostasis observed in MS. Additionally, we propose that CGB can be a biomarker that predicts the onset and severity of disease in patients with MS.