Intraneuronal pyroglutamate-Abeta 3-42 triggers neurodegeneration and lethal neurological deficits in a transgenic mouse model.
ABSTRACT: It is well established that only a fraction of Abeta peptides in the brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients start with N-terminal aspartate (Abeta(1D)) which is generated by proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by BACE. N-terminally truncated and pyroglutamate modified Abeta starting at position 3 and ending with amino acid 42 [Abeta(3(pE)-42)] have been previously shown to represent a major species in the brain of AD patients. When compared with Abeta(1-42), this peptide has stronger aggregation propensity and increased toxicity in vitro. Although it is unknown which peptidases remove the first two N-terminal amino acids, the cyclization of Abeta at N-terminal glutamate can be catalyzed in vitro. Here, we show that Abeta(3(pE)-42) induces neurodegeneration and concomitant neurological deficits in a novel mouse model (TBA2 transgenic mice). Although TBA2 transgenic mice exhibit a strong neuronal expression of Abeta(3-42) predominantly in hippocampus and cerebellum, few plaques were found in the cortex, cerebellum, brain stem and thalamus. The levels of converted Abeta(3(pE)-42) in TBA2 mice were comparable to the APP/PS1KI mouse model with robust neuron loss and associated behavioral deficits. Eight weeks after birth TBA2 mice developed massive neurological impairments together with abundant loss of Purkinje cells. Although the TBA2 model lacks important AD-typical neuropathological features like tangles and hippocampal degeneration, it clearly demonstrates that intraneuronal Abeta(3(pE)-42) is neurotoxic in vivo.
Project description:It has been recently shown that the Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenic peptide amyloid beta(1-42) (Abeta(1-42)) binds to the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (alpha7nAChR) with high affinity and the alpha7nAChR and Abeta(1-42) are both found colocalized in neuritic plaques of human brains with AD. Moreover, the intraneuronal accumulation of Abeta(1-42) was shown to be facilitated by its high-affinity binding to the alpha7nAChR, and alpha7nAChR activation mediates Abeta-induced tau protein phosphorylation. To test the hypothesis that alpha7nAChRs are involved in AD pathogenesis, we used a transgenic mouse model of AD overexpressing a mutated form of the human amyloid precursor protein (APP) and lacking the alpha7nAChR gene (APPalpha7KO). We have shown that, despite the presence of high amounts of APP and amyloid deposits, deleting the alpha7nAChR subunit in the mouse model of AD leads to a protection from the dysfunction in synaptic integrity (pathology and plasticity) and learning and memory behavior. Specifically, APPalpha7KO mice express APP and Abeta at levels similar to APP mice, and yet they were able to solve a cognitive challenge such as the Morris water maze test significantly better than APP, with performances comparable to control groups. Moreover, deleting the alpha7nAChR subunit protected the brain from loss of the synaptic markers synaptophysin and MAP2, reduced the gliosis, and preserved the capacity to elicit long-term potentiation otherwise deficient in APP mice. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the alpha7nAChR plays a role in AD and suggest that interrupting alpha7nAChR function could be beneficial in the treatment of AD.
Project description:Metabolites of neural cells, is known to have a significant effect on the normal physiology and function of neurons in brain. However, whether they play a role in pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases is unknown. Here, we show that metabolites of neurons play essential role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Firstly, in vivo and in vitro metabolites of cerebellar neurons both significantly induced the expression of Abeta-degrading enzymes in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex and promoted Abeta clearance. Moreover, metabolites of cerebellar neurons significantly reduced brain Abeta levels and reversed cognitive impairments and other AD-like phenotypes of APP/PS1 transgenic mice, in both early and late stages of AD pathology. On the other hand, metabolites of hippocampal neurons reduced the expression of Abeta-degrading enzymes in the cerebellum and caused cerebellar neurodegeneration in APP/PS1 transgenic mice. Thus, we report, for the first time, that metabolites of neurons not only are required for maintaining the normal physiology of neurons but also play essential role in the pathogenesis of AD and may be responsible for the regional-specificity of Abeta deposition and AD pathology.
Project description:Pyroglutamate-modified A? peptides at amino acid position three (A?(pE3-42)) are gaining considerable attention as potential key players in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). A?(pE3-42) is abundant in AD brain and has a high aggregation propensity, stability and cellular toxicity. The aim of the present work was to study the direct effect of elevated A?(pE3-42) levels on ongoing AD pathology using transgenic mouse models. To this end, we generated a novel mouse model (TBA42) that produces A?(pE3-42). TBA42 mice showed age-dependent behavioral deficits and A?(pE3-42) accumulation. The A? profile of an established AD mouse model, 5XFAD, was characterized using immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry. Brains from 5XFAD mice demonstrated a heterogeneous mixture of full-length, N-terminal truncated, and modified A? peptides: A?(1-42), A?(1-40), A?(pE3-40), A?(pE3-42), A?(3-42), A?(4-42), and A?(5-42). 5XFAD and TBA42 mice were then crossed to generate transgenic FAD42 mice. At 6 months of age, FAD42 mice showed an aggravated behavioral phenotype compared with single transgenic 5XFAD or TBA42 mice. ELISA and plaque load measurements revealed that A?(pE3) levels were elevated in FAD42 mice. No change in A?(x)(-42) or other A? isoforms was discovered by ELISA and mass spectrometry. These observations argue for a seeding effect of A?(pE-42) in FAD42 mice.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized pathologically by the abundance of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. We synthesized over 1200 novel gamma-secretase modulator (GSM) compounds that reduced Abeta(42) levels without inhibiting epsilon-site cleavage of APP and Notch, the generation of the APP and Notch intracellular domains, respectively. These compounds also reduced Abeta(40) levels while concomitantly elevating levels of Abeta(38) and Abeta(37). Immobilization of a potent GSM onto an agarose matrix quantitatively recovered Pen-2 and to a lesser degree PS-1 NTFs from cellular extracts. Moreover, oral administration (once daily) of another potent GSM to Tg 2576 transgenic AD mice displayed dose-responsive lowering of plasma and brain Abeta(42); chronic daily administration led to significant reductions in both diffuse and neuritic plaques. These effects were observed in the absence of Notch-related changes (e.g., intestinal proliferation of goblet cells), which are commonly associated with repeated exposure to functional gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs).
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by a substantial degeneration of pyramidal neurons and the appearance of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Here we present a novel transgenic mouse model, APP(SL)PS1KI that closely mimics the development of AD-related neuropathological features including a significant hippocampal neuronal loss. This transgenic mouse model carries M233T/L235P knocked-in mutations in presenilin-1 and overexpresses mutated human beta-amyloid (Abeta) precursor protein. Abeta(x-42) is the major form of Abeta species present in this model with progressive development of a complex pattern of N-truncated variants and dimers, similar to those observed in AD brain. At 10 months of age, an extensive neuronal loss (>50%) is present in the CA1/2 hippocampal pyramidal cell layer that correlates with strong accumulation of intraneuronal Abeta and thioflavine-S-positive intracellular material but not with extracellular Abeta deposits. A strong reactive astrogliosis develops together with the neuronal loss. This loss is already detectable at 6 months of age and is PS1KI gene dosage-dependent. Thus, APP(SL)PS1KI mice further confirm the critical role of intraneuronal Abeta(42) in neuronal loss and provide an excellent tool to investigate therapeutic strategies designed to prevent AD neurodegeneration.
Project description:The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway potentially links together the three major pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD): development of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and brain atrophy. As activation of the JNK pathway has been observed in amyloid models of AD in association with peri-plaque regions and neuritic dystrophy, as we confirm here for Tg2576/PS(M146L) transgenic mice, we directly tested whether JNK inhibition could provide neuroprotection in a novel brain slice model for amyloid precursor protein (APP)-induced neurodegeneration. We found that APP/amyloid beta (Abeta)-induced neurodegeneration is blocked by both small molecule and peptide inhibitors of JNK, and provide evidence that this neuroprotection occurs downstream of APP/Abeta production and processing. Our findings demonstrate that Abeta can induce neurodegeneration, at least in part, through the JNK pathway and suggest that inhibition of JNK may be of therapeutic utility in the treatment of AD.
Project description:Numerous studies have demonstrated oxidative damage in the central nervous system in subjects with Alzheimer disease and in animal models of this dementing disorder. In this study, we show that transgenic mice modeling Alzheimer disease-PDAPP mice with Swedish and Indiana mutations in the human amyloid precursor protein (APP)-develop oxidative damage in brain, including elevated levels of protein oxidation (indexed by protein carbonyls and 3-nitrotyrosine) and lipid peroxidation (indexed by protein-bound 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal). This oxidative damage requires the presence of a single methionine residue at position 35 of the amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta), because all indices of oxidative damage in brain were completely prevented in genetically and age-matched PDAPP mice with an M631L mutation in APP. No significant differences in the levels of APP, Abeta(1-42), and Abeta(1-40) or in the ratio Abeta(1-42)/Abeta(1-40) were found, suggesting that the loss of oxidative stress in vivo in the brain of PDAPP(M631L) mice results solely from the mutation of the Met35 residue to Leu in the Abeta peptide. However, a marked reduction in Abeta-immunoreactive plaques was observed in the M631L mice, which instead displayed small punctate areas of nonplaque immunoreactivity and a microglial response. In contrast to the requirement for Met at residue 35 of the Abeta sequence (M631 of APP) for oxidative damage, indices of spatial learning and memory were not significantly improved by the M631L substitution. Furthermore, a genetically matched line with a different mutation-PDAPP(D664A)-showed the reverse: no reduction in oxidative damage but marked improvement in memory. This is the first in vivo study to demonstrate the requirement for Abeta residue Met35 for oxidative stress in the brain of a mammalian model of Alzheimer disease. However, in this specific transgenic mouse model of AD, oxidative stress is neither required nor sufficient for memory abnormalities.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder pathologically characterized by deposition of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides as senile plaques in the brain. Recent studies suggest that green tea flavonoids may be used for the prevention and treatment of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we report that (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main polyphenolic constituent of green tea, reduces Abeta generation in both murine neuron-like cells (N2a) transfected with the human "Swedish" mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) and in primary neurons derived from Swedish mutant APP-overexpressing mice (Tg APPsw line 2576). In concert with these observations, we find that EGCG markedly promotes cleavage of the alpha-C-terminal fragment of APP and elevates the N-terminal APP cleavage product, soluble APP-alpha. These cleavage events are associated with elevated alpha-secretase activity and enhanced hydrolysis of tumor necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme, a primary candidate alpha-secretase. As a validation of these findings in vivo, we treated Tg APPsw transgenic mice overproducing Abeta with EGCG and found decreased Abeta levels and plaques associated with promotion of the nonamyloidogenic alpha-secretase proteolytic pathway. These data raise the possibility that EGCG dietary supplementation may provide effective prophylaxis for AD.
Project description:The role of cholesterol in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been linked to the generation of toxic amyloid beta peptides (Abeta). Using genetic mouse models of cholesterol loading, we examined whether mitochondrial cholesterol regulates Abeta neurotoxicity and AD pathology. Isolated mitochondria from brain or cortical neurons of transgenic mice overexpressing SREBP-2 (sterol regulatory element binding protein 2) or NPC1 (Niemann-Pick type C1) knock-out mice exhibited mitochondrial cholesterol accumulation, mitochondrial glutathione (mGSH) depletion and increased susceptibility to Abeta1-42-induced oxidative stress and release of apoptogenic proteins. Similar findings were observed in pharmacologically GSH-restricted rat brain mitochondria, while selective mGSH depletion sensitized human neuronal and glial cell lines to Abeta1-42-mediated cell death. Intracerebroventricular human Abeta delivery colocalized with mitochondria resulting in oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and neuronal damage that were enhanced in Tg-SREBP-2 mice and prevented upon mGSH recovery by GSH ethyl ester coinfusion, with a similar protection observed by intraperitoneal administration of GSH ethyl ester. Finally, APP/PS1 (amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1) mice, a transgenic AD mouse model, exhibited mitochondrial cholesterol loading and mGSH depletion. Thus, mitochondrial cholesterol accumulation emerges as a novel pathogenic factor in AD by modulating Abeta toxicity via mGSH regulation; strategies boosting the particular pool of mGSH may be of relevance to slow down disease progression.
Project description:Among the family of A? peptides, pyroglutamate-modified A? (A?pE) peptides are particularly associated with cytotoxicity in Alzheimer's disease (AD). They represent the dominant fraction of A? oligomers in the brains of AD patients, but their accumulation in the brains of elderly individuals with normal cognition is significantly lower. Accumulation of A?pE plaques precedes the formation of plaques of full-length A? (A?1-40/42). Most of these properties appear to be associated with the higher hydrophobicity of A?pE as well as an increased resistance to enzymatic degradation. However, the important question of whether A?pE peptides induce pore activity in lipid membranes and their potential toxicity compared with other A? pores is still open. Here we examine the activity of A?pE pores in anionic membranes using planar bilayer electrical recording and provide their structures using molecular dynamics simulations. We find that A?pE pores spontaneously induce ionic current across the membrane and have some similar properties to the other previously studied pores of the A? family. However, there are also some significant differences. The onset of A?pE3-42 pore activity is generally delayed compared with A?1-42 pores. However, once formed, A?pE3-42 pores produce increased ion permeability of the membrane, as indicated by a greater occurrence of higher conductance electrical events. Structurally, the lactam ring of A?pE peptides induces a change in the conformation of the N-terminal strands of the A?pE3-42 pores. While the N-termini of wild-type A?1-42 peptides normally reside in the bulk water region, the N-termini of A?pE3-42 peptides tend to reside in the hydrophobic lipid core. These studies provide a first step to an understanding of the enhanced toxicity attributed to A?pE peptides.