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      The systemic iron-regulatory proteins hepcidin and ferroportin are reduced in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease

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          The pathological features of the common neurodegenerative conditions, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis are all known to be associated with iron dysregulation in regions of the brain where the specific pathology is most highly expressed. Iron accumulates in cortical plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in AD where it participates in redox cycling and causes oxidative damage to neurons. To understand these abnormalities in the distribution of iron the expression of proteins that maintain systemic iron balance was investigated in human AD brains and in the APP-transgenic (APP-tg) mouse.


          Protein levels of hepcidin, the iron-homeostatic peptide, and ferroportin, the iron exporter, were significantly reduced in hippocampal lysates from AD brains. By histochemistry, hepcidin and ferroportin were widely distributed in the normal human brain and co-localised in neurons and astrocytes suggesting a role in regulating iron release. In AD brains, hepcidin expression was reduced and restricted to the neuropil, blood vessels and damaged neurons. In the APP-tg mouse immunoreactivity for ferritin light-chain, the iron storage isoform, was initially distributed throughout the brain and as the disease progressed accumulated in the core of amyloid plaques. In human and mouse tissues, extensive AD pathology with amyloid plaques and severe vascular damage with loss of pericytes and endothelial disruption was seen. In AD brains, hepcidin and ferroportin were associated with haem-positive granular deposits in the region of damaged blood vessels.


          Our results suggest that the reduction in ferroportin levels are likely associated with cerebral ischaemia, inflammation, the loss of neurons due to the well-characterised protein misfolding, senile plaque formation and possibly the ageing process itself. The reasons for the reduction in hepcidin levels are less clear but future investigation could examine circulating levels of the peptide in AD and a possible reduction in the passage of hepcidin across damaged vascular endothelium. Imbalance in the levels and distribution of ferritin light-chain further indicate a failure to utilize and release iron by damaged and degenerating neurons.

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          Gene dose of apolipoprotein E type 4 allele and the risk of Alzheimer's disease in late onset families.

          The apolipoprotein E type 4 allele (APOE-epsilon 4) is genetically associated with the common late onset familial and sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Risk for AD increased from 20% to 90% and mean age at onset decreased from 84 to 68 years with increasing number of APOE-epsilon 4 alleles in 42 families with late onset AD. Thus APOE-epsilon 4 gene dose is a major risk factor for late onset AD and, in these families, homozygosity for APOE-epsilon 4 was virtually sufficient to cause AD by age 80.
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            Correlative memory deficits, Abeta elevation, and amyloid plaques in transgenic mice.

            Transgenic mice overexpressing the 695-amino acid isoform of human Alzheimer beta-amyloid (Abeta) precursor protein containing a Lys670 --> Asn, Met671 --> Leu mutation had normal learning and memory in spatial reference and alternation tasks at 3 months of age but showed impairment by 9 to 10 months of age. A fivefold increase in Abeta(1-40) and a 14-fold increase in Abeta(1-42/43) accompanied the appearance of these behavioral deficits. Numerous Abeta plaques that stained with Congo red dye were present in cortical and limbic structures of mice with elevated amounts of Abeta. The correlative appearance of behavioral, biochemical, and pathological abnormalities reminiscent of Alzheimer's disease in these transgenic mice suggests new opportunities for exploring the pathophysiology and neurobiology of this disease.
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              Loss of human Greatwall results in G2 arrest and multiple mitotic defects due to deregulation of the cyclin B-Cdc2/PP2A balance.

              Here we show that the functional human ortholog of Greatwall protein kinase (Gwl) is the microtubule-associated serine/threonine kinase-like protein, MAST-L. This kinase promotes mitotic entry and maintenance in human cells by inhibiting protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a phosphatase that dephosphorylates cyclin B-Cdc2 substrates. The complete depletion of Gwl by siRNA arrests human cells in G2. When the levels of this kinase are only partially depleted, however, cells enter into mitosis with multiple defects and fail to inactivate the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). The ability of cells to remain arrested in mitosis by the SAC appears to be directly proportional to the amount of Gwl remaining. Thus, when Gwl is only slightly reduced, cells arrest at prometaphase. More complete depletion correlates with the premature dephosphorylation of cyclin B-Cdc2 substrates, inactivation of the SAC, and subsequent exit from mitosis with severe cytokinesis defects. These phenotypes appear to be mediated by PP2A, as they could be rescued by either a double Gwl/PP2A knockdown or by the inhibition of this phosphatase with okadaic acid. These results suggest that the balance between cyclin B-Cdc2 and PP2A must be tightly regulated for correct mitotic entry and exit and that Gwl is crucial for mediating this regulation in somatic human cells.

                Author and article information

                Acta Neuropathol Commun
                Acta Neuropathol Commun
                Acta Neuropathologica Communications
                BioMed Central
                3 September 2013
                : 1
                : 55
                [1 ]John Van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0PY, UK
                [2 ]Department of Neurology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA
                [3 ]Institute of Liver Studies, King’s College Hospital, London, UK
                Copyright © 2013 Raha et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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