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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 19;278(51):50970-7. Epub 2003 Sep 24.

Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and COX-1 potentiate beta-amyloid peptide generation through mechanisms that involve gamma-secretase activity.

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  • 1Neuroinflammation Research Laboratories, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


In previous studies we found that overexpression of the inducible form of cyclooxygenase, COX-2, in the brain exacerbated beta-amyloid (A beta) neuropathology in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. To explore the mechanism through which COX may influence A beta amyloidosis, we used an adenoviral gene transfer system to study the effects of human (h)COX-1 and hCOX-2 isoform expression on A beta peptide generation. We found that expression of hCOXs in human amyloid precursor protein (APP)-overexpressing (Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-APPswe) cells or human neuroglioma (H4-APP751) cells resulting in 10-25 nM prostaglandin (PG)-E2 concentration in the conditioned medium coincided with an approximately 1.8-fold elevation of A beta-(1-40) and A beta-(1-42) peptide generation and an approximately 1.8-fold induction of the C-terminal fragment (CTF)-gamma cleavage product of the APP, an index of gamma-secretase activity. Treatment of APP-overexpressing cells with the non-selective COX inhibitor ibuprofen (1 microM, 48 h) or with the specific gamma-secretase inhibitor L-685,458 significantly attenuated hCOX-1- and hCOX-2-mediated induction of A beta peptide generation and CTF-gamma cleavage product formation. Based on this evidence, we next tested the hypothesis that COX expression might promote A beta peptide generation via a PG-E2-mediated mechanism. We found that exposure of CHO-APPswe or human embryonic kidney (HEK-APPswe) cells to PG-E2 (11-deoxy-PG-E2) at a concentration (10 nM) within the range of PG-E2 found in hCOX-expressing cells similarly promoted (approximately 1.8-fold) the generation of the CTF-gamma cleavage product of APP and commensurate A beta-(1-40) and A beta-(1-42) peptide elevation. The study suggests that expression of COXs may influence A beta peptide generation through mechanisms that involve PG-E2-mediated potentiation of gamma-secretase activity, further supporting a role for COX-2 and COX-1 in Alzheimer's disease neuropathology.

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