Modeling Amyloid-β Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease Using the Arctic Mutation
Sammanfattning: The Arctic mutation in the Amyloid-β (Aβ) domain of the Amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) causes Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and confers unique biochemical characteristics to Aβ peptides. The aims of this thesis were to evaluate a transgenic model with the Arctic mutation, and to use it to gain new insights into the mechanisms of early (pre-plaque) and late-stage Aβ pathogenesis in AD. The Arctic mutation made Aβ more prone to aggregate, to accumulate in intracellular compartments and to form extracellular plaques when the models tg-ArcSwe and tg-Swe were compared. By inhibiting APP processing genetically or pharmacologically, the intraneuronal granular immunoreactivity with antibodies binding the Aβ domain was shown to largely represent Aβ, and not APP or APP-fragments. At two months of age, the intracellularly accumulated Aβ decreased rapidly, likely because it was still accessible to intracellular clearance. Extracellular Aβ deposits emerged at 5-6 months of age and the amyloid fibril structure was more compact than in tg-Swe. Moreover, Aβ deposits in tg-ArcSwe were more resistant to chemical extraction than those of established models carrying the Swedish APP mutation only, e.g. tg-Swe mice. The stability of deposits better reflects the biochemistry of senile plaques in AD. Thus, the tg-ArcSwe model may better predict the outcome of clinical trials, particularly therapies designed to enhance clearance of Aβ aggregates and deposits. Postmortem brain of Arctic mutation carriers contained extensive parenchymal plaque pathology. Differential immunostaining patterns with C- and N-terminal Aβ antibodies revealed a subset of plaques that were unique to the brains of Arctic mutation carriers. Aβ deposits in the cerebral vessel walls were congophilic and mainly composed of full-length Aβ. In contrast, N-terminally truncated Aβ was more prominent in the parenchymal plaques, all of which essentially lacked amyloid cores. A heterogeneous assembly of mutant and wild-type Aβ was shown to favor the formation of diffuse deposits in bitransgenic mice, and such mechanisms may at least partly explain observations of plaques lacking amyloid cores in postmortem Arctic mutant brain. In the bitransgenic mice, a low level of Arctic Aβ was sufficient to facilitate aggregation of wild-type Aβ. This observation, but also our findings of differences in amyloid fibril structure in tg-ArcSwe and tg-Swe, further highlights similarities between AD and prion disorders in which PrPsc refolds PrPc and facilitates fibril formation.
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