Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia among neurodegenerative diseases, afflicts millions of elderly people worldwide. In addition to amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptide and phosphorylated tau, lipid dysregulation is suggested to participate in AD pathogenesis. However, alterations in individual lipid species and their role in AD disease progression remain unclear.
We performed a lipidomic analysis using brain tissues and plasma obtained from mice expressing mutated human amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau protein (Tg2576×JNPL3) (APP/tau mice) at 4 (pre-symptomatic phase), 10 (early symptomatic) and 15 months (late symptomatic).
Levels of docosahexaenoyl (22:6) cholesterol ester (ChE) were markedly increased in APP/tau mice compared to controls at all stages examined. Several species of ethanolamine plasmalogens (pPEs) and sphingomyelins (SMs) showed different levels between brains from APP/tau and control mice at various stages of AD. Increased levels of 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (12-HETE) during the early symptomatic phase were consistent with previous reports using human AD brain tissue. In addition, 19,20-dihydroxy-docosapentaenoic acid (19,20-diHDoPE) and 17,18-dihydroxy-eicosatetraenoic acid (17,18-diHETE), which are produced from docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid via 19,20-epoxy-docosapentaenoic acid (19,20-EpDPE) and 17,18-epoxy-eicosatetraenoic acid (17,18-EpETE), respectively, were significantly increased in APP/tau brains during the pre-symptomatic phase, and concomitant increases occurred in plasma. Several arachidonic acid metabolites such as prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE), which have potential deteriorating and protective actions, respectively, were decreased in the early symptomatic phase of APP/tau mice. Significant decreases in phosphatidylcholines and PEs with polyunsaturated fatty acids were also detected in the late symptomatic phase, indicating a perturbation of membrane properties.
Our results provide fundamental information on lipid dysregulation during various stages of human AD.