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      Apolipoprotein E controls cerebrovascular integrity via cyclophilin A

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          Abstract

          Human apolipoprotein E has three isoforms: APOE2, APOE3 and APOE4. APOE4 is a major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and is associated with Down's syndrome dementia and poor neurological outcome after traumatic brain injury and haemorrhage. Neurovascular dysfunction is present in normal APOE4 carriers and individuals with APOE4-associated disorders. In mice, lack of Apoe leads to blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, whereas APOE4 increases BBB susceptibility to injury. How APOE genotype affects brain microcirculation remains elusive. Using different APOE transgenic mice, including mice with ablation and/or inhibition of cyclophilin A (CypA), here we show that expression of APOE4 and lack of murine Apoe, but not APOE2 and APOE3, leads to BBB breakdown by activating a proinflammatory CypA-nuclear factor-κB-matrix-metalloproteinase-9 pathway in pericytes. This, in turn, leads to neuronal uptake of multiple blood-derived neurotoxic proteins, and microvascular and cerebral blood flow reductions. We show that the vascular defects in Apoe-deficient and APOE4-expressing mice precede neuronal dysfunction and can initiate neurodegenerative changes. Astrocyte-secreted APOE3, but not APOE4, suppressed the CypA-nuclear factor-κB-matrix-metalloproteinase-9 pathway in pericytes through a lipoprotein receptor. Our data suggest that CypA is a key target for treating APOE4-mediated neurovascular injury and the resulting neuronal dysfunction and degeneration.

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          Most cited references28

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          The role of apolipoprotein E in Alzheimer's disease.

          The epsilon4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) is the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although there have been numerous studies attempting to elucidate the underlying mechanism for this increased risk, how apoE4 influences AD onset and progression has yet to be proven. However, prevailing evidence suggests that the differential effects of apoE isoforms on Abeta aggregation and clearance play the major role in AD pathogenesis. Other potential mechanisms, such as the differential modulation of neurotoxicity and tau phosphorylation by apoE isoforms as well as its role in synaptic plasticity and neuroinflammation, have not been ruled out. Inconsistent results among studies have made it difficult to define whether the APOE epsilon4 allele represents a gain of toxic function, a loss of neuroprotective function, or both. Therapeutic strategies based on apoE propose to reduce the toxic effects of apoE4 or to restore the physiological, protective functions of apoE.
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            Neurovascular pathways to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and other disorders.

            The neurovascular unit (NVU) comprises brain endothelial cells, pericytes or vascular smooth muscle cells, glia and neurons. The NVU controls blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and cerebral blood flow, and maintains the chemical composition of the neuronal 'milieu', which is required for proper functioning of neuronal circuits. Recent evidence indicates that BBB dysfunction is associated with the accumulation of several vasculotoxic and neurotoxic molecules within brain parenchyma, a reduction in cerebral blood flow, and hypoxia. Together, these vascular-derived insults might initiate and/or contribute to neuronal degeneration. This article examines mechanisms of BBB dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders, notably Alzheimer's disease, and highlights therapeutic opportunities relating to these neurovascular deficits.
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              Pericytes regulate the blood-brain barrier.

              The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of specific physical barriers, enzymes and transporters, which together maintain the necessary extracellular environment of the central nervous system (CNS). The main physical barrier is found in the CNS endothelial cell, and depends on continuous complexes of tight junctions combined with reduced vesicular transport. Other possible constituents of the BBB include extracellular matrix, astrocytes and pericytes, but the relative contribution of these different components to the BBB remains largely unknown. Here we demonstrate a direct role of pericytes at the BBB in vivo. Using a set of adult viable pericyte-deficient mouse mutants we show that pericyte deficiency increases the permeability of the BBB to water and a range of low-molecular-mass and high-molecular-mass tracers. The increased permeability occurs by endothelial transcytosis, a process that is rapidly arrested by the drug imatinib. Furthermore, we show that pericytes function at the BBB in at least two ways: by regulating BBB-specific gene expression patterns in endothelial cells, and by inducing polarization of astrocyte end-feet surrounding CNS blood vessels. Our results indicate a novel and critical role for pericytes in the integration of endothelial and astrocyte functions at the neurovascular unit, and in the regulation of the BBB.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                May 2012
                May 16 2012
                May 2012
                : 485
                : 7399
                : 512-516
                Article
                10.1038/nature11087
                4047116
                22622580
                1de93aab-ec55-4810-bc43-0f2853200b27
                © 2012

                http://www.springer.com/tdm


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