The aim of this study was to explore concentrations differences of soluble amyloid precursor protein (sAPP) α and β in blood plasma in patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cognitively healthy age-matched control subjects, as well as patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Concentrations of sAPPα and β were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technology in 80 patients with probable AD, 37 age-matched control subjects and 14 patients with bvFTD. Concentration differences were explored using parametric tests. Significantly decreased plasma concentrations in the AD group compared with both the control group and the bvFTD group were detected for sAPPβ (P=0.03 for both group comparisons), but not for sAPPα. The study provides a further piece of evidence in support of sAPPβ as a promising new biomarker of AD, which may potentially improve the diagnostic accuracy of existing markers and also enable a less invasive diagnostic workup. Further research is required to establish normal ranges and to replicate the results in independent cohorts including larger numbers of participants covering a wider spectrum of cognitive impairment.
Alzheimer's disease; biomarker; early diagnosis; ELISA; plasma
Because of the emerging intersections of HIV infection and Alzheimer's disease, we examined cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers related of amyloid and tau metabolism in HIV-infected patients.
In this cross-sectional study we measured soluble amyloid precursor proteins alpha and beta (sAPPα and sAPPβ), amyloid beta fragment 1-42 (Aβ1-42), and total and hyperphosphorylated tau (t-tau and p-tau) in CSF of 86 HIV-infected (HIV+) subjects, including 21 with AIDS dementia complex (ADC), 25 with central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic infections and 40 without neurological symptoms and signs. We also measured these CSF biomarkers in 64 uninfected (HIV-) subjects, including 21 with Alzheimer's disease, and both younger and older controls without neurological disease.
CSF sAPPα and sAPPβ concentrations were highly correlated and reduced in patients with ADC and opportunistic infections compared to the other groups. The opportunistic infection group but not the ADC patients had lower CSF Aβ1-42 in comparison to the other HIV+ subjects. CSF t-tau levels were high in some ADC patients, but did not differ significantly from the HIV+ neuroasymptomatic group, while CSF p-tau was not increased in any of the HIV+ groups. Together, CSF amyloid and tau markers segregated the ADC patients from both HIV+ and HIV- neuroasymptomatics and from Alzheimer's disease patients, but not from those with opportunistic infections.
Parallel reductions of CSF sAPPα and sAPPβ in ADC and CNS opportunistic infections suggest an effect of CNS immune activation or inflammation on neuronal amyloid synthesis or processing. Elevation of CSF t-tau in some ADC and CNS infection patients without concomitant increase in p-tau indicates neural injury without preferential accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau as found in Alzheimer's disease. These biomarker changes define pathogenetic pathways to brain injury in ADC that differ from those of Alzheimer's disease.
The cleavage of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) generates multiple proteins: Soluble β-amyloid Precursor Protein Alpha (sAPPα), sAPPβ, and amyloid β (Aβ). Previous studies have shown that sAPPα and sAPPβ possess neurotrophic properties, whereas Aβ is neurotoxic. However, the underlying mechanism of the opposing effects of APP fragments remains poorly understood. In this study, we have investigated the mechanism of sAPPα-mediated neurotrophic effects. sAPPα and sAPPβ interact with p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR), and sAPPα promotes neurite outgrowth.
Methods and Findings
First, we investigated whether APP fragments interact with p75NTR, because full-length APP and Aβ have been shown to interact with p75NTR in vitro. Both sAPPα and sAPPβ were co-immunoprecipitated with p75NTR and co-localized with p75NTR on COS-7 cells. The binding affinity of sAPPα and sAPPβ for p75NTR was confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Next, we investigated the effect of sAPPα on neurite outgrowth in mouse cortical neurons. Neurite outgrowth was promoted by sAPPα, but sAPPα was uneffective in a knockdown of p75NTR.
We conclude that p75NTR is the receptor for sAPPα to mediate neurotrophic effects.
sAPPα released after α secretase cleavage of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) has several functions including the stimulation of neurite outgrowth although detailed morphometric analysis has not been done. Two domains involved in this function have been described and are present in sAPPβ released at the first step of amyloid peptide cleavage, raising the possibility that sAPPβ could also stimulate neurite outgrowth. We investigated the morphological effects of sAPPα and sAPPβ on primary neurons and identified a key signaling event required for the changes observed.
Final concentrations of 50 to 150 nM bacterial recombinant sAPPα or sAPPβ added to primary neuronal cultures after 1 day in vitro decreased cell adhesion 24 hours later and primary dendrite length 96 hours later. 150 nM sAPPα and sAPPβ induced a similar increase of axon outgrowth, although this increase was already significant at 100 nM sAPPα. These morphological changes induced by sAPPs were also observed when added to differentiated neurons at 5 days in vitro. Real time PCR and immunocytochemistry showed that sAPPα and sAPPβ stimulated Egr1 expression downstream of MAPK/ERK activation. Furthermore, in primary neurons from Egr1 −/− mice, sAPPs affected dendritic length but did not induce any increase of axon length.
sAPPα and sAPPβ decrease cell adhesion and increase axon elongation. These morphological changes are similar to what has been observed in response to heparan sulfate. The sAPPα/sAPPβ stimulated increase in axon growth requires Egr1 signaling. These data suggest that sAPPβ is not deleterious per se. Since sAPPβ and sAPPα are present in the embryonic brain, these two APP metabolites might play a role in axon outgrowth during development and in response to brain damage.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in verbal communication, social interactions, and the presence of repetitive, stereotyped and compulsive behaviors. Excessive early brain growth is found commonly in some patients and may contribute to disease phenotype. Reports of increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other neurotrophic-like factors in autistic neonates suggest that enhanced anabolic activity in CNS mediates this overgrowth effect. We have shown previously that in a subset of patients with severe autism and aggression, plasma levels of the secreted amyloid-β (Aβ) precursor protein-alpha form (sAPPα) were significantly elevated relative to controls and patients with mild-to-moderate autism. Here we further tested the hypothesis that levels of sAPPα and sAPPβ (proteolytic cleavage products of APP by α- and β-secretase, respectively) are deranged in autism and may contribute to an anabolic environment leading to brain overgrowth. We measured plasma levels of sAPPα, sAPPβ, Aβ peptides and BDNF by corresponding ELISA in a well characterized set of subjects. We included for analysis 18 control, 6 mild-to-moderate, and 15 severely autistic patient plasma samples. We have observed that sAPPα levels are increased and BDNF levels decreased in the plasma of patients with severe autism as compared to controls. Further, we show that Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42, and sAPPβ levels are significantly decreased in the plasma of patients with severe autism. These findings do not extend to patients with mild-to-moderate autism, providing a biochemical correlate of phenotypic severity. Taken together, this study provides evidence that sAPPα levels are generally elevated in severe autism and suggests that these patients may have aberrant non-amyloidogenic processing of APP.
Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by senile plaques, which are mainly composed of β amyloid (Aβ) peptides. Aβ is cleaved off from amyloid precursor protein (APP) with consecutive proteolytic processing by β-secretase and γ-secretase.
Here, we show that CD74, the invariant chain of class II major histocompatibility complex, interacts with APP and serves as a negative regulator of Aβ. CD74 resembles other APP interacters such as BRI2 and BRI3, since all of them reduce the level of Aβ. However, unlike BRIs, CD74 does not reduce the secretion of sAPPα or sAPPβ. Interestingly, in HeLa cells, over expression of CD74 steers APP, but not Notch, to large vacuoles created by CD74.
Taken together, we propose that CD74 inhibits Aβ production by interacting with and derailing normal trafficking of APP.
Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key molecule in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is metabolized in two alternative cleavages, generating either the amyloidogenic peptides involved in AD pathology or the soluble form of APP (sAPPα). The level of amyloidogenic peptides in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is considered to be a biomarker of AD, whereas the level of sAPPα in CSF as a biomarker has not been clearly established. sAPPα has neurotrophic and neuroprotective properties. Stimulating its formation and secretion is a promising therapeutic target in AD research. To this end, very sensitive tests for preclinical and clinical research are required.
The tests are based on homogenous time-resolved fluorescence and require no washing steps.
We describe two new rapid and sensitive tests for quantifying mouse and human sAPPα. These 20 μl-volume tests quantify the levels of: i) endogenous mouse sAPPα in the conditioned medium of mouse neuron primary cultures, as well as in the CSF of wild-type mice, ii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD mouse models, and iii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD and non-AD patients. These tests require only 5 μl of conditioned medium from 5 × 104 mouse primary neurons, 1 μl of CSF from wild-type and transgenic mice, and 0.5 μl of human CSF.
The high sensitivity of the mouse sAPPα test will allow high-throughput investigations of molecules capable of increasing the secretion of endogenous sAPPα in primary neurons, as well as the in vivo validation of molecules of interest through the quantification of sAPPα in the CSF of treated wild-type mice. Active molecules could then be tested in the AD mouse models by quantifying human sAPPα in the CSF through the progression of the disease. Finally, the human sAPPα test could strengthen the biological diagnosis of AD in large clinical investigations. Taken together, these new tests have a wide field of applications in preclinical and clinical studies.
Alzheimer’s disease; Soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha; Homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence; Rodent; Human; Cerebrospinal fluid; Primary neurons; Sensitivity
The aim of this exploratory investigation was to determine if genetic variation within APP or its processing enzymes correlates with APP cleavage product levels: APPα, APPβ or Aβ42, in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of cognitively normal subjects or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Cognitively normal control subjects (n=170) and AD patients (n=92) were genotyped for 19 putative regulatory tagging SNPs within nine genes (APP, ADAM10, BACE1, BACE2, PSEN1, PSEN2, PEN2, NCSTN and APH1B) involved in the APP processing pathway. SNP genotypes were tested for their association with CSF APPα, APPβ, and Aβ42, AD risk and age-at-onset while taking into account age, gender, race and APOE ε4. After adjusting for multiple comparisons a significant association was found between ADAM10 SNP rs514049 and APPα levels. In controls, the rs514049 CC genotype had higher APPα levels than the CA,AA collapsed genotype, whereas the opposite effect was seen in AD patients. These results suggest that genetic variationwithin ADAM10, an APP processing gene, influences CSF APPα levels in an AD specific manner.
APP; ADAM10; BACE1; BACE2; PSEN1; PSEN2; PEN2; NCSTN; APH1B; Alzheimer’s; Cerebrospinal Fluid
A first in human study to evaluate tolerability and pharmacokinetics followed by an early proof of mechanism (POM) study to determine whether the small orally, available molecule, Posiphen tartrate (Posiphen), lowers secreted (s) amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) α and -β, amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), tau (τ) and inflammatory markers in CSF of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Posiphen single and multiple ascending dose phase 1 randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled safety, tolerance, pharmacokinetic studies were undertaken in a total of 120 healthy volunteers to define a dose that was then used in a small non-randomised study of five MCI subjects, used as their own controls, to define target engagement.
Main outcome measures
Pharmacodynamic: sAPPα, sAPPβ, Aβ42, τ (total (t) and phosphorylated (p)) and inflammatory marker levels were time-dependently measured over 12 h and compared prior to and following 10 days of oral Posiphen treatment in four MCI subjects who completed the study. Pharmacokinetic: plasma and CSF drug and primary metabolite concentrations with estimated brain levels extrapolated from steady-state drug administration in rats.
Posiphen proved well tolerated and significantly lowered CSF levels of sAPPα, sAPPβ, t-τ, p-τ and specific inflammatory markers, and demonstrated a trend to lower CSF Aβ42.
These results confirm preclinical POM studies, demonstrate that pharmacologically relevant drug/metabolite levels reach brain and support the continued clinical optimisation and evaluation of Posiphen for MCI and Alzheimer's disease.
Posiphen; amyloid precursor protein; amyloid-β peptide; inflammatory markers; mild cognitive impairment; genetics; B12 deficiency; neurochemistry; Alzheimer's disease; amyloid; head injury; Parkinson's disease
A mutation in the BRI2/ITM2b gene causes familial Danish dementia (FDD). BRI2 is an inhibitor of amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) processing, which is genetically linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. The FDD mutation leads to a loss of BRI2 protein and to increased APP processing. APP haplodeficiency and inhibition of APP cleavage by β-secretase rescue synaptic/memory deficits of a genetically congruous mouse model of FDD (FDDKI). β-cleavage of APP yields the β-carboxyl-terminal (β-CTF) and the amino-terminal-soluble APPβ (sAPPβ) fragments. γ-secretase processing of β-CTF generates Aβ, which is considered the main cause of AD. However, inhibiting Aβ production did not rescue the deficits of FDDKI mice, suggesting that sAPPβ/β-CTF, and not Aβ, are the toxic species causing memory loss.
Here, we have further analyzed the effect of γ-secretase inhibition. We show that treatment with a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) results in a worsening of the memory deficits of FDDKI mice. This deleterious effect on memory correlates with increased levels of the β/α-CTFs APP fragments in synaptic fractions isolated from hippocampi of FDDKI mice, which is consistent with inhibition of γ-secretase activity.
This harmful effect of the GSI is in sharp contrast with a pathogenic role for Aβ, and suggests that the worsening of memory deficits may be due to accumulation of synaptic-toxic β/α-CTFs caused by GSI treatment. However, γ-secretase cleaves more than 40 proteins; thus, the noxious effect of GSI on memory may be dependent on inhibition of cleavage of one or more of these other γ-secretase substrates. These two possibilities do not need to be mutually exclusive. Our results are consistent with the outcome of a clinical trial with the GSI Semagacestat, which caused a worsening of cognition, and advise against targeting γ-secretase in the therapy of AD. Overall, the data also indicate that FDDKI is a valuable mouse model to study AD pathogenesis and predict the clinical outcome of therapeutic agents for AD.
Biomarkers of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) could support the identification of beneficial drugs in clinical trials. We aimed to test whether soluble fragments of beta-amyloid precursor protein (sAPPα and sAPPß) correlated with clinical subtypes of ALS and were of prognostic value.
In a cross-sectional study including patients with ALS (N = 68) with clinical follow-up data over 6 months, Parkinson's disease (PD, N = 20), and age-matched controls (N = 40), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of sAPPα a, sAPPß and neurofilaments (NfHSMI35) were measured by multiplex assay, Progranulin by ELISA. CSF sAPPα and sAPPß levels were lower in ALS with a rapidly-progressive disease course (p = 0.03, and p = 0.02) and with longer disease duration (p = 0.01 and p = 0.01, respectively). CSF NfHSMI35 was elevated in ALS compared to PD and controls, with highest concentrations found in patients with rapid disease progression (p<0.01). High CSF NfHSMI3 was linked to low CSF sAPPα and sAPPß (p = 0.001, and p = 0.007, respectively). The ratios CSF NfHSMI35/CSF sAPPα,-ß were elevated in patients with fast progression of disease (p = 0.002 each). CSF Progranulin decreased with ongoing disease (p = 0.04).
This study provides new CSF candidate markers associated with progression of disease in ALS. The data suggest that a deficiency of cellular neuroprotective mechanisms (decrease of sAPP) is linked to progressive neuro-axonal damage (increase of NfHSMI35) and to progression of disease.
TNFα is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is elevated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brains. Since TNFα is released from cell membranes by the TNFα converting enzyme (TACE), inhibition of TACE has the potential to mitigate TNFα effects in AD brain. TACE also cleaves amyloid precursor protein (APP) and generates sAPPα, precluding the formation of potentially harmful Aβ peptides by β-site APP cleaving enzymes (BACE). Hence, the anti-inflammatory benefits of TACE inhibition might be offset by an increase in Aβ. We have examined the effects of the highly selective TACE inhibitor, BMS-561392, on APP processing in vitro and in vivo. In CHO cells expressing APP, BMS-561392 significantly reduced secretion of sAPPα without a corresponding increase in Aβ production. Conversely, a BACE inhibitor decreased sAPPβ and Aβ peptides with no change in the secretion of sAPPα. These data indicate an absence of TACE and BACE competition for the APP substrate. Despite this, we observed competition for APP when TACE activity was enhanced via phorbol ester treatment or if APP was modified such that it was retained within the trans Golgi network (TGN). These results suggest that BACE and TACE share a common TGN localization, but under normal conditions do not compete for APP. To confirm this finding in vivo, BMS-561392 was infused into the brains of Tg2576 and wild-type mice. While decreased brain sAPPα levels were observed, steady-state Aβ levels were not significantly changed. Accordingly, it is possible that TACE inhibitors could reduce TNFα levels without increasing Aβ levels within the AD brain.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-beta; inflammation; neuroinflammation; tumor necrosis factor; TNFα
Parkinson’s disease (PD) without (non-demented, PDND) and with dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are subsumed under the umbrella term Lewy body disorders (LBD). The main component of the underlying pathologic substrate, i.e. Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, is misfolded alpha-synuclein (Asyn), and - in particular in demented LBD patients - co-occurring misfolded amyloid-beta (Abeta). Lowered blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of transthyretin (TTR) - a clearance protein mainly produced in the liver and, autonomously, in the choroid plexus - are associated with Abeta accumulation in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a recent study suggests that TTR is involved in Asyn clearance. We measured TTR protein levels in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of 131 LBD patients (77 PDND, 26 PDD, and 28 DLB) and 72 controls, and compared TTR levels with demographic and clinical data as well as neurodegenerative markers in the CSF. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms of the TTR gene which are considered to influence the ability of the protein to carry its ligands were also analyzed. CSF TTR levels were significantly higher in LBD patients compared to controls. Post-hoc analysis demonstrated that this effect was driven by PDND patients. In addition, CSF TTR levels correlated negatively with CSF Abeta1–42, total tau and phospho-tau levels. Serum TTR levels did not significantly differ among the studied groups. There were no relevant associations between TTR levels and genetic, demographic and clinical data, respectively. These results suggest an involvement of the clearance protein TTR in LBD pathophysiology, and should motivate to elucidate TTR-related mechanisms in LBD in more detail.
Autistic individuals display impaired social interactions and language, and restricted, stereotyped behaviors. Elevated levels of secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha (sAPPα), the product of α-secretase cleavage of APP, are found in the plasma of some individuals with autism. The sAPPα protein is neurotrophic and neuroprotective and recently showed a correlation to glial differentiation in human neural stem cells (NSCs) via the IL-6 pathway. Considering evidence of gliosis in postmortem autistic brains, we hypothesized that subsets of patients with autism would exhibit elevations in CNS sAPPα and mice generated to mimic this observation would display markers suggestive of gliosis and autism-like behavior. Elevations in sAPPα levels were observed in brains of autistic patients compared to controls. Transgenic mice engineered to overexpress human sAPPα (TgsAPPα mice) displayed hypoactivity, impaired sociability, increased brain glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression, and altered Notch1 and IL-6 levels. NSCs isolated from TgsAPPα mice, and those derived from wild-type mice treated with sAPPα, displayed suppressed β-tubulin III and elevated GFAP expression. These results suggest that elevations in brain sAPPα levels are observed in subsets of individuals with autism and TgsAPPα mice display signs suggestive of gliosis and behavioral impairment.
sAPPα; astrogliosis; autism; behavior; IL-6; Notch
A mutation in the BRI2/ITM2b gene causes loss of BRI2 protein leading to familial Danish dementia (FDD). BRI2 deficiency of FDD provokes an increase in amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) processing since BRI2 is an inhibitor of APP proteolysis, and APP mediates the synaptic/memory deficits in FDD. APP processing is linked to Alzheimer disease (AD) pathogenesis, which is consistent with a common mechanism involving toxic APP metabolites in both dementias. We show that inhibition of APP cleavage by β-secretase rescues synaptic/memory deficits in a mouse model of FDD. β-cleavage of APP yields amino-terminal-soluble APPβ (sAPPβ) and β-carboxyl-terminal fragments (β-CTF). Processing of β-CTF by γ-secretase releases amyloid-β (Aβ), which is assumed to cause AD. However, inhibition of γ-secretase did not ameliorate synaptic/memory deficits of FDD mice. These results suggest that sAPPβ and/or β-CTF, rather than Aβ, are the toxic species causing dementia, and indicate that reducing β-cleavage of APP is an appropriate therapeutic approach to treating human dementias. Our data and the failures of anti-Aβ therapies in humans advise against targeting γ-secretase cleavage of APP and/or Aβ.
Alzheimer disease; BACE1; BRI2; familial Danish dementia; mouse models
Clinical and neuropathological overlap between Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) is now well recognized. Such cases of concurrent AD and Lewy body disease (AD/LBD) show neuropathological changes that include Lewy bodies (α-synuclein aggregates), neuritic amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles (hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates). The co-occurrence of these clinical and neuropathological changes suggests shared pathogenic mechanisms in these diseases, previously assumed to be distinct. Glial activation, with overexpression of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and other proinflammatory cytokines, has been increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of both AD and PD.
Rat primary cultures of microglia and cortical neurons were cultured either separately or as mixed cultures. Microglia or cocultures were treated with a secreted fragment (sAPPα) of the β-amyloid precursor protein (βAPP). Neurons were treated with IL-1β or conditioned medium from sAPPα-activated microglia, with or without IL-1 receptor antagonist. Slow-release pellets containing either IL-1β or bovine serum albumin (control) were implanted in cortex of rats, and mRNA for various neuropathological markers was analyzed by RT-PCR. Many of the same markers were assessed in tissue sections from human cases of AD/LBD.
Activation of microglia with sAPPα resulted in a dose-dependent increase in secreted IL-1β. Cortical neurons treated with IL-1β showed a dose-dependent increase in sAPPα release, an effect that was enhanced in the presence of microglia. IL-1β also elevated the levels of α-synuclein, activated MAPK-p38, and phosphorylated tau; a concomitant decrease in levels of synaptophysin occurred. Delivery of IL-1β by slow-release pellets elevated mRNAs encoding α-synuclein, βAPP, tau, and MAPK-p38 compared to controls. Finally, human cases of AD/LBD showed colocalization of IL-1-expressing microglia with neurons that simultaneously overexpressed βAPP and contained both Lewy bodies and neurofibrillary tangles.
Our findings suggest that IL-1 drives production of substrates necessary for formation of the major neuropathological changes characteristic of AD/LBD.
Alzheimer’s disease is confirmed at autopsy according to the accumulation of brain neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Neuritic plaques contain Aβ and lower levels of Aβ correspond to an increase in ADAM10 α-secretase activity. ADAM10 α-secretase activity produces a soluble APP alpha (sAPPα) product and negates the pathological production of Aβ. In this investigation it was hypothesized that genetic variation with the ADAM10 promoter is associated with ADAM10 expression levels as well as CSF sAPPα levels. Results from this investigation suggest that the ADAM10 rs514049–rs653765 C-A promoter haplotype is associated with; 1) higher CSF sAPPα levels in cognitively normal controls compared to AD, 2) higher post mortem brain hippocampus, but not cerebellum, ADAM10 protein levels in low plaque score subjects compared to high plaque score subjects and 3) higher promoter activity for promoter only reporter constructs compared to promoter – 3′UTR constructs in the human neuroblastoma SHSY5Y cell line, but not in HepG2 or U118 cell lines. Taken together, these findings suggest that ADAM10 expression is modulated according to a promoter haplotype that is influenced in a brain region and cell type specific manner.
ADAM10; haplotype; sAPPα; Alzheimer’s Disease; reporter assay; neuritic plaques; brain; hippocampus; cerebrospinal fluid
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among the elderly population. AD, which is characterized as a disease of cognitive deficits, is mainly associated with an increase of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in the brain. A growing body of recent studies suggests that protein kinase C (PKC) promotes the production of the secretory form of amyloid precursor protein (sAPPα) via the activation of α-secretase activity, which reduces the accumulation of pathogenic Aβ levels in the brain. Moreover, activation of PKCα and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is known to increase sAPPα. A novel type of PKC, PKCε, activates the Aβ degrading activity of endothelin converting enzyme type 1 (ECE-1), which might be mediated via the MAPK pathway as well. Furthermore, dysregulation of PKC-MAPK signaling is known to increase Aβ levels in the brain, which results in AD phenotypes. Here, we discuss roles of PKC in Aβ production and clearance and its implication in AD.
Recent intriguing evidence suggests that metabolites of amyloid precursor protein (APP), mutated in familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), play critical roles in developmental and postnatal neurogenesis. Of note is soluble APPα (sAPPα) that regulates neural progenitor cell proliferation. The APP family encompasses a group of ubiquitously expressed and evolutionarily conserved, type I transmembrane glycoproteins, whose functions have yet to be fully elucidated. APP can undergo proteolytic cleavage by mutually exclusive pathways. The subtle structural differences between metabolites generated in the different pathways, as well as their equilibrium, may be crucial for neuronal function. The implications of this new body of evidence are significant. Miscleavage of APP would readily impact developmental and postnatal neurogenesis, which might contribute to cognitive deficits characterizing Alzheimer’s disease. This review will discuss the implications of the role of the APP family in neurogenesis for neuronal development, cognitive function, and brain disorders that compromise learning and memory, such as AD.
neurogenesis; amyloid precursor protein; learning and memory; aging; Alzheimer’s disease; neuronal plasticity
The present review highlights an association between autism, Alzheimer disease (AD), and fragile X syndrome (FXS). We propose a conceptual framework involving the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), Aβ precursor protein (APP), and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) based on experimental evidence. The anabolic (growth-promoting) effect of the secreted α form of the amyloid-β precursor protein (sAPPα) may contribute to the state of brain overgrowth implicated in autism and FXS. Our previous report demonstrated that higher plasma sAPPα levels associate with more severe symptoms of autism, including aggression. This molecular effect could contribute to intellectual disability due to repression of cell–cell adhesion, promotion of dense, long, thin dendritic spines, and the potential for disorganized brain structure as a result of disrupted neurogenesis and migration. At the molecular level, APP and FMRP are linked via the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5). Specifically, mGluR5 activation releases FMRP repression of APP mRNA translation and stimulates sAPP secretion. The relatively lower sAPPα level in AD may contribute to AD symptoms that significantly contrast with those of FXS and autism. Low sAPPα and production of insoluble Aβ would favor a degenerative process, with the brain atrophy seen in AD. Treatment with mGluR antagonists may help repress APP mRNA translation and reduce secretion of sAPP in FXS and perhaps autism.
Differential processing of the amyloid precursor protein liberates either amyloid-ß, a causative agent of Alzheimer’s disease, or secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha (sAPPα), which promotes neuroprotection, neurotrophism, neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. The underlying molecular mechanisms recruited by sAPPα that underpin these considerable cellular effects are not well elucidated. As these effects are enduring, we hypothesised that regulation of gene expression may be of importance and examined temporally specific gene networks and pathways induced by sAPPα in rat hippocampal organotypic slice cultures. Slices were exposed to 1 nM sAPPα or phosphate buffered saline for 15 min, 2 h or 24 h and sAPPα-associated gene expression profiles were produced for each time-point using Affymetrix Rat Gene 1.0 ST arrays (moderated t-test using Limma: p < 0.05, and fold change ± 1.15).
Treatment of organotypic hippocampal slice cultures with 1 nM sAPPα induced temporally distinct gene expression profiles, including mRNA and microRNA associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Having demonstrated that treatment with human recombinant sAPPα was protective against N-methyl d-aspartate-induced toxicity, we next explored the sAPPα-induced gene expression profiles. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis predicted that short-term exposure to sAPPα elicited a multi-level transcriptional response, including upregulation of immediate early gene transcription factors (AP-1, Egr1), modulation of the chromatin environment, and apparent activation of the constitutive transcription factors CREB and NF-κB. Importantly, dynamic regulation of NF-κB appears to be integral to the transcriptional response across all time-points. In contrast, medium and long exposure to sAPPα resulted in an overall downregulation of gene expression. While these results suggest commonality between sAPPα and our previously reported analysis of plasticity-related gene expression, we found little crossover between these datasets. The gene networks formed following medium and long exposure to sAPPα were associated with inflammatory response, apoptosis, neurogenesis and cell survival; functions likely to be the basis of the neuroprotective effects of sAPPα.
Our results demonstrate that sAPPα rapidly and persistently regulates gene expression in rat hippocampus. This regulation is multi-level, temporally specific and is likely to underpin the neuroprotective effects of sAPPα.
Secreted amyloid precursor protein alpha; Hippocampus; Organotypic slice cultures; Microarray; Ingenuity pathway analysis; Neuroprotection; Immediate early genes; MicroRNA; NF-κB
Dementia is a common feature in Parkinson's disease (PD) and is considered to be the result of limbic and cortical Lewy bodies and/or Alzheimer changes. Astrogliosis may also affect the development of dementia, since it correlates well with declining cognition in Alzheimer patients. Thus, we determined whether cortical astrogliosis occurs in PD, whether it is related to dementia, and whether this is reflected by the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We have examined these proteins by immunohistochemistry in the frontal cortex and by Western blot in CSF of cases with PD, PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and nondemented controls. We were neither able to detect an increase in cortical astrogliosis in PD, PDD, or DLB nor could we observe a correlation between the extent of astrogliosis and the degree of dementia. The levels of GFAP and vimentin in CSF did not correlate to the extent of astrogliosis or dementia. We did confirm the previously identified positive correlation between the presence of cortical Lewy bodies and dementia in PD. In conclusion, we have shown that cortical astrogliosis is not associated with the cognitive decline in Lewy body-related dementia.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is one of the causes of dementia of the elderly characterized by impaired mental function, gait difficulties and urinary incontinence. Previously, it was proposed that some of the NPH patients may develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) like pathology. Aim of this study was to compare levels of different CSF biomarkers, including total secreted β-amyloid precursor protein (sAPP), sAPP-alpha form (sAPPα), amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptide, total-tau protein and hyperphosphorylated-tau protein in subjects from NPH and Non-NPH Control (NNC). CSF was collected from 23 NPH patients and 13 Non-NPH controls by lumber puncture. Western blot analysis was performed to measure levels of sAPP-total. ELISA was used separately to determine levels of sAPPα, Aβ peptide, total-tau and phosphor-tau proteins. We found a significant decrease in levels of total secreted APP, sAPPα and Aβ (1–42) in the CSF sample of NPH patients vs. NNC. We did not observe any change in levels of total-tau or phospho-tau in NPH vs. NNC subjects. Notably, phospho-tau level was significantly increased in the NPH patients, who were suffering from the disease for more than one year, vs. NNC. Among five biomarkers studied, decreased sAPP, sAPPα and Aβ (1–42) levels in CSF can be molecular markers to distinguish NPH cases from NNC. Disease severity can also be assessed by increased levels of CSF phospho-tau protein and the ratio of phospho-tau to Aβ (1–42), which might be a useful tool for predicting conversion of NPH individuals to other neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
NPH; Cerebrospinal fluid; Amyloid beta-peptide; Clearance; Tau; Disease progression
Autosomal-dominant Alzheimer disease (ADAD) is a genetic disorder caused by
mutations in Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) or
Presenilin (PSEN) genes. Studies from families
with ADAD have been critical to support the amyloid cascade hypothesis of Alzheimer
disease (AD), the basis for the current development of amyloid-based
disease-modifying therapies in sporadic AD (SAD). However, whether the pathological
changes in APP processing in the CNS in ADAD are similar to those observed in SAD
remains unclear. In this study, we measured β-site APP-cleaving enzyme (BACE) protein levels and activity, APP and
APP C-terminal fragments in brain samples from subjects with ADAD carrying APP or PSEN1 mutations
(n = 18), patients with SAD (n = 27) and age-matched controls (n = 22). We also measured sAPPβ and
BACE protein levels, as well as BACE activity, in CSF from individuals carrying
PSEN1 mutations (10 mutation carriers and 7
non-carrier controls), patients with SAD (n = 32)
and age-matched controls (n = 11). We found that
in the brain, the pattern in ADAD was characterized by an increase in APP β-C-terminal fragment (β-CTF) levels despite no changes in BACE protein levels or activity.
In contrast, the pattern in SAD in the brain was mainly characterized by an increase
in BACE levels and activity, with less APP β-CTF
accumulation than ADAD. In the CSF, no differences were found between groups in BACE
activity or expression or sAPPβ levels. Taken
together, these data suggest that the physiopathological events underlying the
chronic Aβ production/clearance imbalance in SAD
and ADAD are different. These differences should be considered in the design of
intervention trials in AD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1062-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized
Amyloid precursor protein; Autosomal-dominant Alzheimer disease; β-Site APP-cleaving enzyme; Presenilin; β-Amyloid
The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is well known for giving rise to the amyloid-β peptide and for its role in Alzheimer's disease. Much less is known, however, on the physiological roles of APP in the development and plasticity of the central nervous system. We have used phage display of a peptide library to identify high-affinity ligands of purified recombinant human sAPPα695 (the soluble, secreted ectodomain from the main neuronal APP isoform). Two peptides thus selected exhibited significant homologies with the conserved extracellular domain of several members of the semaphorin (Sema) family of axon guidance proteins. We show that sAPPα695 binds both purified recombinant Sema3A and Sema3A secreted by transfected HEK293 cells. Interestingly, sAPPα695 inhibited the collapse of embryonic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) dorsal root ganglia growth cones promoted by Sema3A (Kd≤8·10−9 M). Two Sema3A-derived peptides homologous to the peptides isolated by phage display blocked sAPPα binding and its inhibitory action on Sema3A function. These two peptides are comprised within a domain previously shown to be involved in binding of Sema3A to its cellular receptor, suggesting a competitive mechanism by which sAPPα modulates the biological action of semaphorins.