Zhen Zhao 1 , Abhay P. Sagare 1 , Qingyi Ma 1 , Matthew R. Halliday 1 , Pan Kong 1 , Kassandra Kisler 1 , Ethan A. Winkler 1 , 2 , Anita Ramanathan 1 , Takahisa Kanekiyo 3 , Guojun Bu 3 , Nelly Chuqui Owens 1 , Sanket V. Rege 1 , Gabriel Si 1 , Ashim Ahuja 1 , Donghui Zhu 4 , Carol A. Miller 5 , Julie A. Schneider 6 , Manami Maeda 7 , 8 , Takahiro Maeda 7 , 8 , Tohru Sugawara 9 , Justin K. Ichida 9 , Berislav V. Zlokovic 1 , †
25 May 2015
PICALM is highly validated genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, we report that PICALM reductions in AD and murine brain endothelium correlate with amyloid–β (Aβ) pathology and cognitive impairment. Moreover, Picalm deficiency diminishes Aβ clearance across the murine blood–brain barrier (BBB) and accelerates Aβ pathology that is reversible by endothelial PICALM re–expression. Using human brain endothelial monolayer, we show that PICALM regulates PICALM/clathrin–dependent internalization of Aβ bound to the low density lipoprotein receptor related protein–1, a key Aβ clearance receptor, and guides Aβ trafficking to Rab5 and Rab11 leading to Aβ endothelial transcytosis and clearance. PICALM levels and Aβ clearance were reduced in AD–derived endothelial monolayers, which was reversible by adenoviral–mediated PICALM transfer. iPSC–derived human endothelial cells carrying the rs3851179 protective allele exhibited higher PICALM levels and enhanced Aβ clearance. Thus, PICALM regulates Aβ BBB transcytosis and clearance that has implications for Aβ brain homeostasis and clearance therapy.