Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications

Title

Beta-Amyloid Peptide at Sublethal Concentrations Downregulates Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Functions in Cultured Cortical Neurons

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-28-2004

Journal Title

The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

ISSN

1529-2401

Volume

24

Issue

30

First Page

6799

Last Page

6809

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.5463-03.2004

PubMed ID

15282285

Abstract

The accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) is one of the etiological factors in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been assumed that the underlying mechanism involves a critical role of Aβ-induced neurodegeneration. However, low levels of Aβ, such as will accumulate during the course of the disease, may interfere with neuronal function via mechanisms other than those involving neurodegeneration. We have been testing, therefore, the hypothesis that Aβ at levels insufficient to cause degeneration (sublethal) may interfere with critical signal transduction processes. In cultured cortical neurons Aβ at sublethal concentrations interferes with the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-induced activation of the Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathways. The effect of sublethal Aβ1-42 on BDNF signaling results in the suppression of the activation of critical transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein and Elk-1 and cAMP response element-mediated and serum response element-mediated transcription. The site of interference with the Ras/ERK and PI3-K/Akt signaling is downstream of the TrkB receptor and involves docking proteins insulin receptor substrate-1 and Shc, which convey receptor activation to the downstream effectors. The functional consequences of Aβ interference with signaling are robust, causing increased vulnerability of neurons, abrogating BDNF protection against DNA damage- and trophic deprivation-induced apoptosis. These new findings suggest that Aβ engenders a dysfunctional encoding state in neurons and may initiate and/or contribute to cognitive deficit at an early stage of AD before or along with neuronal degeneration.

Keywords

β-amyloid, BDNF, CREB, MAPK, cortical neurons, PI3-K