Chitinase 3-like 1 is neurotoxic in primary cultured neurons

Clara Matute-Blanch*, Laura Calvo-Barreiro, Iria Carballo-Carbajal, Ricardo Gonzalo, Alex Sanchez, Miquel Vila, Xavier Montalban, Manuel Comabella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) is known to play a role as prognostic biomarker in the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS), and patients with high cerebrospinal fluid CHI3L1 levels have an increased risk for the development of neurological disability. Here, we investigated its potential neurotoxic effect by adding recombinant CHI3L1 in vitro to primary cultures of mouse cortical neurons and evaluating both neuronal functionality and survival by immunofluorescence. CHI3L1 induced a significant neurite length retraction after 24 and 48 hours of exposure and significantly reduced neuronal survival at 48 hours. The cytotoxic effect of CHI3L1 was neuron-specific and was not observed in mouse immune or other central nervous system cells. These results point to a selective neurotoxic effect of CHI3L1 in vitro and suggest a potential role of CHI3L1 as therapeutic target in MS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7118
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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