Journal of neuroinflammation

The CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) δ is differently regulated by fibrillar and oligomeric forms of the Alzheimer amyloid-β peptide.

PMID 21492414


The transcription factors CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins (C/EBP) α, β and δ have been shown to be expressed in brain and to be involved in regulation of inflammatory genes in concert with nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). In general, C/EBPα is down-regulated, whereas both C/EBPβ and δ are up-regulated in response to inflammatory stimuli. In Alzheimer's disease (AD) one of the hallmarks is chronic neuroinflammation mediated by astrocytes and microglial cells, most likely induced by the formation of amyloid-β (Aβ) deposits. The inflammatory response in AD has been ascribed both beneficial and detrimental roles. It is therefore important to delineate the inflammatory mediators and signaling pathways affected by Aβ deposits with the aim of defining new therapeutic targets. Here we have investigated the effects of Aβ on expression of C/EBP family members with a focus on C/EBPδ in rat primary astro-microglial cultures and in a transgenic mouse model with high levels of fibrillar Aβ deposits (tg-ArcSwe) by western blot analysis. Effects on DNA binding activity were analyzed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Cross-talk between C/EBPδ and NF-κB was investigated by analyzing binding to a κB site using a biotin streptavidin-agarose pull-down assay. We show that exposure to fibril-enriched, but not oligomer-enriched, preparations of Aβ inhibit up-regulation of C/EBPδ expression in interleukin-1β-activated glial cultures. Furthermore, we observed that, in aged transgenic mice, C/EBPα was significantly down-regulated and C/EBPβ was significantly up-regulated. C/EBPδ, on the other hand, was selectively down-regulated in the forebrain, a part of the brain showing high levels of fibrillar Aβ deposits. In contrast, no difference in expression levels of C/EBPδ between wild type and transgenic mice was detected in the relatively spared hindbrain. Finally, we show that interleukin-1β-induced C/EBPδ DNA binding activity to both C/EBP and κB sites is abolished after exposure to Aβ. These data suggest that both expression and function of C/EBPδ are dysregulated in Alzheimer's disease. C/EBPδ seems to be differently regulated in response to different conformations of Aβ. We propose that Aβ induces an imbalance between NF-κB and C/EBP transcription factors that may result in abnormal responses to inflammatory stimuli.

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