Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a common genetic disorder in which affected individuals can develop mental retardation, developmental brain defects, and seizures. Two genetic loci are responsible for TSC: TSC1 on chromosome 9q and TSC2 on chromosome 16p. Here, we report our analysis of TSC1 (hamartin) and TSC2 (tuberin) protein expression in the central nervous system (CNS). Both tuberin and hamartin are expressed in neurons and astrocytes where they physically interact. In the mouse cerebellum in vivo, tuberin predominantly localizes to the perinuclear region of the Purkinje cell, whereas hamartin is distributed along neuronal or astrocytic processes. In contrast, both hamartin and tuberin demonstrate similar neuronal expression patterns in pure neuronal cultures in vitro. Additionally, hamartin is highly expressed in astrocytes in mixed neuron-glia cultures in vitro, suggesting that hamartin may be important for astrocyte growth control. Unlike tuberin, loss of hamartin expression was not observed in sporadic astrocytomas. These results suggest that tuberin and hamartin may differentially contribute to the CNS pathology in TSC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Astrocytes
  • Astrocytomas
  • Brain
  • Glia
  • Neurons


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