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The amyloid-β degradation intermediate Aβ34 is pericyte-associated and reduced in brain capillaries of patients with Alzheimer’s disease


Kirabali, Tunahan; Rigotti, Serena; Siccoli, Alessandro; Liebsch, Filip; Shobo, Adeola; Hock, Christoph; Nitsch, Roger M; Multhaup, Gerhard; Kulic, Luka (2019). The amyloid-β degradation intermediate Aβ34 is pericyte-associated and reduced in brain capillaries of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 7:194.

Abstract

An impairment of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) clearance is suggested to play a key role in the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Amyloid degradation is mediated by various mechanisms including fragmentation by enzymes like neprilysin, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a recently identified amyloidolytic activity of β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1). BACE1 cleavage of Aβ40 and Aβ42 results in the formation of a common Aβ34 intermediate which was found elevated in cerebrospinal fluid levels of patients at the earliest disease stages. To further investigate the role of Aβ34 as a marker for amyloid clearance in AD, we performed a systematic and comprehensive analysis of Aβ34 immunoreactivity in hippocampal and cortical post-mortem brain tissue from AD patients and non-demented elderly individuals. In early Braak stages, Aβ34 was predominantly detectable in a subset of brain capillaries associated with pericytes, while in later disease stages, in clinically diagnosed AD, this pericyte-associated Aβ34 immunoreactivity was largely lost. Aβ34 was also detected in isolated human cortical microvessels associated with brain pericytes and its levels correlated with Aβ40, but not with Aβ42 levels. Moreover, a significantly decreased Aβ34/Aβ40 ratio was observed in microvessels from AD patients in comparison to non-demented controls suggesting a reduced proteolytic degradation of Aβ40 to Aβ34 in AD. In line with the hypothesis that pericytes at the neurovascular unit are major producers of Aβ34, biochemical studies in cultured human primary pericytes revealed a time and dose dependent increase of Aβ34 levels upon treatment with recombinant Aβ40 peptides while Aβ34 production was impaired when Aβ40 uptake was reduced or BACE1 activity was inhibited. Collectively, our findings indicate that Aβ34 is generated by a novel BACE1-mediated Aβ clearance pathway in pericytes of brain capillaries. As amyloid clearance is significantly reduced in AD, impairment of this pathway might be a major driver of the pathogenesis in sporadic AD.

Abstract

An impairment of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) clearance is suggested to play a key role in the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Amyloid degradation is mediated by various mechanisms including fragmentation by enzymes like neprilysin, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and a recently identified amyloidolytic activity of β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1). BACE1 cleavage of Aβ40 and Aβ42 results in the formation of a common Aβ34 intermediate which was found elevated in cerebrospinal fluid levels of patients at the earliest disease stages. To further investigate the role of Aβ34 as a marker for amyloid clearance in AD, we performed a systematic and comprehensive analysis of Aβ34 immunoreactivity in hippocampal and cortical post-mortem brain tissue from AD patients and non-demented elderly individuals. In early Braak stages, Aβ34 was predominantly detectable in a subset of brain capillaries associated with pericytes, while in later disease stages, in clinically diagnosed AD, this pericyte-associated Aβ34 immunoreactivity was largely lost. Aβ34 was also detected in isolated human cortical microvessels associated with brain pericytes and its levels correlated with Aβ40, but not with Aβ42 levels. Moreover, a significantly decreased Aβ34/Aβ40 ratio was observed in microvessels from AD patients in comparison to non-demented controls suggesting a reduced proteolytic degradation of Aβ40 to Aβ34 in AD. In line with the hypothesis that pericytes at the neurovascular unit are major producers of Aβ34, biochemical studies in cultured human primary pericytes revealed a time and dose dependent increase of Aβ34 levels upon treatment with recombinant Aβ40 peptides while Aβ34 production was impaired when Aβ40 uptake was reduced or BACE1 activity was inhibited. Collectively, our findings indicate that Aβ34 is generated by a novel BACE1-mediated Aβ clearance pathway in pericytes of brain capillaries. As amyloid clearance is significantly reduced in AD, impairment of this pathway might be a major driver of the pathogenesis in sporadic AD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 December 2019
Deposited On:29 Jan 2020 15:31
Last Modified:29 Jan 2020 15:33
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2051-5960
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0846-8
PubMed ID:31796114

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