THBS4 (Thrombospondin 4)

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Thrombospondin 4 (THBS4) is an extracellular-matrix glycoprotein that mediates cell adhesion, proliferation, and motility. In brain, THBS4 has been implicated in neurite growth and can elicit synaps formation. THBS4 shows significantly higher expression levels in the human adult cortex than in other primates and this change has been hypothesized to have played a role in humans have increased synaptic density and increased rates of neurite growth. THBS4 also has been shown to accumulate in amyloid plaques and has been suggested to increase human susceptibility to developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Timing of appearance of the difference in the Hominin Lineage as a defined date or a lineage separation event. The point in time associated with lineage separation events may change in the future as the scientific community agrees upon better time estimates. Lineage separation events are defined in 2017 as:

  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and old world monkeys was 25,000 - 30,000 thousand (25 - 30 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees was 6,000 - 8,000 thousand (6 - 8 million) years ago
  • the emergence of the genus Homo was 2,000 thousand (2 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and neanderthals was 500 thousand years ago
  • the common ancestor of modern humans was 100 - 300 thousand years ago

Definite Appearance: 
6,000 thousand years ago
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Cortical Synapse Density
Genetics Topic Attributes
Gene symbols follow the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee standard.
Gene Symbol Type of Human-Specific Changes
THBS4 Expression Pattern Change


  1. Increased cortical expression of two synaptogenic thrombospondins in human brain evolution., Cáceres, Mario, Suwyn Carolyn, Maddox Marcelia, Thomas James W., and Preuss Todd M. , Cereb Cortex, 2007 Oct, Volume 17, Issue 10, p.2312-21, (2007)