17 October 2023

CD markers: unlocking neurobiology and cancer insights

Explore how CD markers illuminate neurobiology and cancer research, revealing vital insights into cell populations and disease prognosis.

CD markers, known as Cluster of Differentiation markers or CD molecules, serve as a vital classification system for cell surface molecules not only on immune cells but also on a variety of other cell types. These markers are indispensable instruments for identifying and characterizing distinct cell populations within the immune system and other tissues. Each CD marker is assigned a unique number that corresponds to a specific cell surface protein or antigen. Primary antibodies directed at CD proteins play a pivotal role in advancing both neurobiology and cancer research.

In the realms of immunology and cell biology, CD markers are crucial for discriminating between different cell populations, comprehending their functions, and evaluating their involvement in immune responses and diseases. For instance, CD4 and CD8, well-known CD markers, play a crucial role in distinguishing between helper T cells (CD4+) and cytotoxic T cells (CD8+). Numerous other CD markers are present on B cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, and various subsets of immune cells, allowing for intricate characterizations of these cells.

It is important to note that the nomenclature of CD markers does not always directly align with specific biological functions. Many CD markers have multifaceted roles and can be expressed on a variety of cell types. As our comprehension of the immune system and cell biology advances, researchers continue to uncover and elucidate the functions of CD markers.

Figure 1. Left: Immunohistochemical staining of human brain cancer (glioma) using the polyclonal Anti-CD44 (HPA005785, brown). Right: Immunofluorescence staining of SH-SY5Y-neuroblastoma-derived cell line using the Anti-CD72 (HPA044658, green).

CD markers in neuroscience research

In the field of neuroscience, CD markers have proven invaluable for the study of the nervous system. Specific primary antibodies are accessible to target CD markers expressed on neuronal and glial cells. These antibodies enable the precise identification and differentiation of various cell subtypes within the nervous system, providing insights into their functions and interactions. This precise labeling is pivotal in investigations related to neural development, neurodegenerative disorders, and brain cancers such as glioma.

For example:

  • CD56 (NCAM) is associated with neuroendocrine tumors and neural development disorders like autism and schizophrenia.
  • CD133 (Prominin-1) is linked to brain tumor stem cells in glioblastoma and other brain cancers.
  • CD45 (Leukocyte Common Antigen) is employed to identify immune cells infiltrating the brain in diseases like multiple sclerosis.
  • CD31 (PECAM-1) relates to endothelial cells in the blood-brain barrier and is pertinent in neuroinflammatory conditions.
  • CD184 (CXCR4) is implicated in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) due to its role in viral entry into the central nervous system.
Figure 2. Immunohistochemical stainings of human cancerous tissues using Atlas Antibodies’ Triple A Polyclonals: Anti-CD44 (HPA005785, Breast cancer); Anti-CD166 (HPA010926, Prostate cancer); Anti-CD47 (HPA044659, Lung cancer); Anti-CD38 (HPA022132, Prostate cancer).

CD markers in cancer research

In the realm of cancer research, primary antibodies targeting CD proteins have played a pivotal role in enhancing our understanding of human cancers, including hematological cancers like leukemia. These antibodies are central to the diagnosis of leukemia, as their abnormal expression patterns often serve as initial indicators of the disease.

For example:

  • CD34 serves as a marker for hematopoietic stem cells and is frequently used to identify immature or undifferentiated cells in leukemia, particularly acute leukemias.
  • CD19 and CD20 are present on B cells and are utilized to differentiate B-cell leukemias like B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
  • CD3 is a marker for mature T cells and is used to identify T-cell leukemias such as T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL).
  • CD13 and CD33 are associated with myeloid cells and are often used to identify myeloid leukemias, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Additionally, several other CD markers are commonly associated with various human cancers:
  • CD44 is linked to cancer stem cells in multiple cancer types, including breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer.
  • CD326 (EpCAM) is employed as a marker in the detection and characterization of certain epithelial cancers, including breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancers.
  • CD99 is expressed in various types of tumors, including Ewing’s sarcoma, small round cell tumors, and some soft tissue sarcomas.
  • CD138 (Syndecan-1) serves as a marker for plasma cells and is used in the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells.
  • CD30 (TNFRSF8) is associated with Hodgkin lymphoma and some non-Hodgkin lymphomas, such as anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.
  • CD3, CD4, and CD8 are markers used to evaluate the presence and composition of T lymphocytes in the tumor microenvironment, which can have prognostic significance in various cancers.

In summary, primary antibodies directed at CD proteins are indispensable tools in both neurobiology and cancer research. They enable scientists to precisely pinpoint and study specific cell populations in the nervous system and provide crucial insights into the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases like leukemia. As research continues to unveil the intricate roles of CD markers and their genetic regulation, these antibodies will remain essential in advancing our understanding of complex diseases and developing targeted therapeutic interventions.

CD markers: unlocking neurobiology and cancer insights

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