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The BACE1 inhibitor verubecestat (MK-8931) reduces CNS  -amyloid in animal models and in Alzheimers disease patients

Science translational medicine

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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      Most cited references 38

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      The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease at 25 years

      Abstract Despite continuing debate about the amyloid β‐protein (or Aβ hypothesis, new lines of evidence from laboratories and clinics worldwide support the concept that an imbalance between production and clearance of Aβ42 and related Aβ peptides is a very early, often initiating factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Confirmation that presenilin is the catalytic site of γ‐secretase has provided a linchpin: all dominant mutations causing early‐onset AD occur either in the substrate (amyloid precursor protein, APP) or the protease (presenilin) of the reaction that generates Aβ. Duplication of the wild‐type APP gene in Down's syndrome leads to Aβ deposits in the teens, followed by microgliosis, astrocytosis, and neurofibrillary tangles typical of AD. Apolipoprotein E4, which predisposes to AD in > 40% of cases, has been found to impair Aβ clearance from the brain. Soluble oligomers of Aβ42 isolated from AD patients' brains can decrease synapse number, inhibit long‐term potentiation, and enhance long‐term synaptic depression in rodent hippocampus, and injecting them into healthy rats impairs memory. The human oligomers also induce hyperphosphorylation of tau at AD‐relevant epitopes and cause neuritic dystrophy in cultured neurons. Crossing human APP with human tau transgenic mice enhances tau‐positive neurotoxicity. In humans, new studies show that low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and amyloid‐PET positivity precede other AD manifestations by many years. Most importantly, recent trials of three different Aβ antibodies (solanezumab, crenezumab, and aducanumab) have suggested a slowing of cognitive decline in post hoc analyses of mild AD subjects. Although many factors contribute to AD pathogenesis, Aβ dyshomeostasis has emerged as the most extensively validated and compelling therapeutic target.
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        A mutation in APP protects against Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline.

        The prevalence of dementia in the Western world in people over the age of 60 has been estimated to be greater than 5%, about two-thirds of which are due to Alzheimer's disease. The age-specific prevalence of Alzheimer's disease nearly doubles every 5 years after age 65, leading to a prevalence of greater than 25% in those over the age of 90 (ref. 3). Here, to search for low-frequency variants in the amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) gene with a significant effect on the risk of Alzheimer's disease, we studied coding variants in APP in a set of whole-genome sequence data from 1,795 Icelanders. We found a coding mutation (A673T) in the APP gene that protects against Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline in the elderly without Alzheimer's disease. This substitution is adjacent to the aspartyl protease β-site in APP, and results in an approximately 40% reduction in the formation of amyloidogenic peptides in vitro. The strong protective effect of the A673T substitution against Alzheimer's disease provides proof of principle for the hypothesis that reducing the β-cleavage of APP may protect against the disease. Furthermore, as the A673T allele also protects against cognitive decline in the elderly without Alzheimer's disease, the two may be mediated through the same or similar mechanisms.
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          Stages of the pathologic process in Alzheimer disease: age categories from 1 to 100 years.

          Two thousand three hundred and thirty two nonselected brains from 1- to 100-year-old individuals were examined using immunocytochemistry (AT8) and Gallyas silver staining for abnormal tau; immunocytochemistry (4G8) and Campbell-Switzer staining were used for the detection ofβ-amyloid. A total of 342 cases was negative in the Gallyas stain but when restaged for AT8 only 10 were immunonegative. Fifty-eight cases had subcortical tau predominantly in the locus coeruleus, but there was no abnormal cortical tau (subcortical Stages a-c). Cortical involvement (abnormal tau in neurites) was identified first in the transentorhinal region (Stage 1a, 38 cases). Transentorhinal pyramidal cells displayed pretangle material (Stage 1b, 236 cases). Pretangles gradually became argyrophilic neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) that progressed in parallel with NFT Stages I to VI. Pretangles restricted to subcortical sites were seen chiefly at younger ages. Of the total cases, 1,031 (44.2%) had β-amyloid plaques. The first plaques occurred in the neocortex after the onset of tauopathy in the brainstem. Plaques generally developed in the 40s in 4% of all cases, culminating in their tenth decade (75%). β-amyloid plaques and NFTs were significantly correlated (p < 0.0001). These data suggest that tauopathy associated with sporadic Alzheimer disease may begin earlier than previously thought and possibly in the lower brainstem rather than in the transentorhinal region.
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            10.1126/scitranslmed.aad9704

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