Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 218, Issue 2, pp 603–609 | Cite as

Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin expression in the human brain

  • Christian Ansgar Hundahl
  • Jesper Kelsen
  • Anders Hay-Schmidt
Short Communication


Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin are new members of the heme–globin family. Both globins are primarily expressed in neurons of the brain and retina. Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin have been suggested as novel therapeutic targets in various neurodegenerative diseases based on their oxygen binding and cell protecting properties. However, findings in Neuroglobin-deficient mice question the endogenous neuroprotective properties. The expression pattern of Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin in the rodent brain is also in contradiction to a major role of neuronal protection. In a recent study, Neuroglobin was ubiquitously expressed and up-regulated following stroke in the human brain. The present study aimed at confirming our previous observations in rodents using two post-mortem human brains. The anatomical localization of Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin in the human brain is much like what has been described for the rodent brain. Neuroglobin is highly expressed in the hypothalamus, amygdale and in the pontine tegmental nuclei, but not in the hippocampus. Cytoglobin is highly expressed in the habenula, hypothalamus, thalamus, hippocampus and the pontine tegmental nuclei. We only detected a low expression of Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin in the cerebral cortex, while no expression in the cerebellar cortex was detectable. We provide a neuroanatomical indication for a different role of Neuroglobin and Cytoglobin in the human brain.


Neuroglobin Cytoglobin Brain Immunohistochemistry Stroke 



This work was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation, the NOVO-Nordisk Foundation, King Christian the X Foundation, The Foundation for Providing Medical Research, Ministry of Science and Education (SF180125s08) and the European Regional Development Fund. The authors are also grateful to Hendrik Luuk and Brent M. Witgen for helpful discussion of the manuscript and professor Eero Vasar for excellent working facilities (CAH).

Supplementary material

429_2012_480_MOESM1_ESM.tif (4 mb)
Fig. 1 Immunohistochemical localization of Neuroglobin (Ngb) and Cytoglobin (Cygb) expression (brown) in the human brain. A-B: shows Ngb-IR in the hindbrain and after pre-absorption with immunogen (recombinant mouse Ngb), respectively. Similarly, in C-D Cygb-IR is shown and after pre-absorption with immunogen (recombinant human CYGB). Scale bars are 50μm (TIFF 4116 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Ansgar Hundahl
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jesper Kelsen
    • 4
  • Anders Hay-Schmidt
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Centre for Excellence in Translational MedicineUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  3. 3. Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet)CopenhagenDenmark

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