Accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain is a key event in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis. Apolipoprotein (Apo) E is a lipid carrier protein secreted by astrocytes, which shows inherent affinity for Aβ and has been implicated in the receptor-mediated Aβ uptake by neurons. To characterize ApoE involvement in the intraneuronal Aβ accumulation and to investigate whether blocking the ApoE/Aβ interaction could reduce intraneuronal Aβ buildup, we used a noncontact neuronal-astrocytic co-culture system, where synthetic Aβ peptides were added into the media without or with cotreatment with Aβ12-28P, which is a nontoxic peptide antagonist of ApoE/Aβ binding. Compared with neurons cultured alone, intraneuronal Aβ content was significantly increased in neurons co-cultured with wild-type but not with ApoE knockout (KO) astrocytes. Neurons co-cultured with astrocytes also showed impaired intraneuronal degradation of Aβ, increased level of intraneuronal Aβ oligomers, and marked down-regulation of several synaptic proteins. Aβ12-28P treatment significantly reduced intraneuronal Aβ accumulation, including Aβ oligomer level, and inhibited loss of synaptic proteins. Furthermore, we showed significantly reduced intraneuronal Aβ accumulation in APPSW/PS1 dE9/ApoE KO mice compared with APPSW/PS1 dE9/ApoE targeted replacement mice that expressed various human ApoE isoforms. Data from our co-culture and in vivo experiments indicate an essential role of ApoE in the mechanism of intraneuronal Aβ accumulation and provide evidence that ApoE/Aβ binding antagonists can effectively prevent this process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine