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      The Physiological Roles of Amyloid-β Peptide Hint at New Ways to Treat Alzheimer's Disease

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          Abstract

          Amyloid-ß (Aß) is best known as the misfolded peptide that is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and it is currently the primary therapeutic target in attempts to arrest the course of this disease. This notoriety has overshadowed evidence that Aß serves several important physiological functions. Aß is present throughout the lifespan, it has been found in all vertebrates examined thus far, and its molecular sequence shows a high degree of conservation. These features are typical of a factor that contributes significantly to biological fitness, and this suggestion has been supported by evidence of functions that are beneficial for the brain. The putative roles of Aß include protecting the body from infections, repairing leaks in the blood-brain barrier, promoting recovery from injury, and regulating synaptic function. Evidence for these beneficial roles comes from in vitro and in vivo studies, which have shown that the cellular production of Aß rapidly increases in response to a physiological challenge and often diminishes upon recovery. These roles are further supported by the adverse outcomes of clinical trials that have attempted to deplete Aß in order to treat AD. We suggest that anti-Aß therapies will produce fewer adverse effects if the known triggers of Aß deposition (e.g., pathogens, hypertension, and diabetes) are addressed first.

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          Most cited references 231

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          APP processing and synaptic function.

          A large body of evidence has implicated Abeta peptides and other derivatives of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) as central to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the functional relationship of APP and its proteolytic derivatives to neuronal electrophysiology is not known. Here, we show that neuronal activity modulates the formation and secretion of Abeta peptides in hippocampal slice neurons that overexpress APP. In turn, Abeta selectively depresses excitatory synaptic transmission onto neurons that overexpress APP, as well as nearby neurons that do not. This depression depends on NMDA-R activity and can be reversed by blockade of neuronal activity. Synaptic depression from excessive Abeta could contribute to cognitive decline during early AD. In addition, we propose that activity-dependent modulation of endogenous Abeta production may normally participate in a negative feedback that could keep neuronal hyperactivity in check. Disruption of this feedback system could contribute to disease progression in AD.
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            Neuropathology of human Alzheimer disease after immunization with amyloid-beta peptide: a case report.

            Amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) has a key role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Immunization with Abeta in a transgenic mouse model of AD reduces both age-related accumulation of Abeta in the brain and associated cognitive impairment. Here we present the first analysis of human neuropathology after immunization with Abeta (AN-1792). Comparison with unimmunized cases of AD (n = 7) revealed the following unusual features in the immunized case, despite diagnostic neuropathological features of AD: (i) there were extensive areas of neocortex with very few Abeta plaques; (ii) those areas of cortex that were devoid of Abeta plaques contained densities of tangles, neuropil threads and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) similar to unimmunized AD, but lacked plaque-associated dystrophic neurites and astrocyte clusters; (iii) in some regions devoid of plaques, Abeta-immunoreactivity was associated with microglia; (iv) T-lymphocyte meningoencephalitis was present; and (v) cerebral white matter showed infiltration by macrophages. Findings (i)-(iii) strongly resemble the changes seen after Abeta immunotherapy in mouse models of AD and suggest that the immune response generated against the peptide elicited clearance of Abeta plaques in this patient. The T-lymphocyte meningoencephalitis is likely to correspond to the side effect seen in some other patients who received AN-1792 (refs. 7-9).
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              Axonal damage in acute multiple sclerosis lesions.

              One of the histological hallmarks of early multiple sclerosis lesions is primary demyelination, with myelin destruction and relative sparing of axons. On the other hand, it is widely accepted that axonal loss occurs in, and is responsible for, the permanent disability characterizing the later chronic progressive stage of the disease. In this study, we have used an antibody against amyloid precursor protein, known to be a sensitive marker of axonal damage in a number of other contexts, in immunocytochemical experiments on paraffin embedded multiple sclerosis lesions of varying ages in order to see at which stage of the disease axonal damage, in addition to demyelination, occurs and may thus contribute to the development of disability in patients. The results show the expression of amyloid precursor protein in damaged axons within acute multiple sclerosis lesions, and in the active borders of less acute lesions. This observation may have implications for the design and timing of therapeutic intervention, one of the most important aims of which must be the reduction of permanent disability.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Aging Neurosci
                Front Aging Neurosci
                Front. Aging Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1663-4365
                25 April 2018
                2018
                : 10
                Affiliations
                1Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University Columbus , Columbus, OH, United States
                2Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State University Columbus , Columbus, OH, United States
                3Discipline of Psychology, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University , Melbourne, VIC, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Rommy Von Bernhardi, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile

                Reviewed by: Walter E. Müller, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany; Richard Lathe, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Stephen R. Robinson stephen.robinson@ 123456rmit.edu.au
                Article
                10.3389/fnagi.2018.00118
                5996906
                Copyright © 2018 Brothers, Gosztyla and Robinson.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 231, Pages: 16, Words: 15000
                Funding
                Funded by: Ohio State University 10.13039/100006928
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Review

                Neurosciences

                aria, seizure, immune system, cerebrovascular, traumatic injury, cancer, antimicrobial, infection

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