Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD

Different Expression Patterns of Amyloid-β Protein Precursor Secretases in Human and Mouse Hippocampal Neurons: A Potential Contribution to Species Differences in Neuronal Susceptibility to Amyloid-β Pathogenesis.

PMID 26836155


Extensive loss of hippocampal neurons serves a pathological basis for irreversible cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, this characteristic cannot be replicated by transgenic mouse models, and its underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we present evidence that different expression patterns of amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) secretases in human and mouse hippocampal neurons are a decisive cause of species difference in the susceptibility to Aβ pathogenesis. Cell bodies of both pyramidal and granular neurons did not appear to undergo Aβ deposits in the 10-month-old transgenic mutant human AβPP/presenilin-1 (PS1) mice. They expressed high levels of non-amyloidogenic α-secretase, and its neuroprotective products soluble AβPPα, but low levels of amyloidogenic β-secretase and γ-secretase, and a neurotoxic product, Aβ42 peptide. Unlike those found in the mouse, human hippocampal neuronal cell bodies expressed β-secretase and γ-secretase, but not α-secretase, which could increase Aβ generation, thus undergoing death in response to various pathological conditions. Increased hippocampal neuronal apoptosis at 48 h following local microinjection of α-secretase antibody ADAM10 into the hippocampus of AβPP/PS1 mice further suggests that high α-secretase expression in mouse neuronal cell bodies is a factor in the paucity of neuronal loss in AD-like pathology. Therefore, selective down-regulation of brain α-secretase in transgenic AD models will better replicate the disease spectrum, including decreased brain soluble AβPPα levels and massive neuronal loss in AD patients, and be beneficial for preclinical therapeutic evaluation of AD.