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Am J Pathol. 2006 Jul;169(1):119-31.

Pro-NGF from Alzheimer's disease and normal human brain displays distinctive abilities to induce processing and nuclear translocation of intracellular domain of p75NTR and apoptosis.

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  • 1Laboratori de Neuropatología Molecular, Departament de Ciències Mèdiques Bàsiques, Universitat de Lleida, C/Montserrat Roig 2, 25008 Lleida, Spain.


The pro form of neurotrophic growth factor (pro-NGF), purified by chromatography from human Alzheimer's disease (AD)-affected brains (ADhbi-pro-NGF), has been shown to induce apoptotic cell death in neuronal cell cultures through its interaction with the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR). In the present work, we report that ADhbi-pro-NGF stimulates processing of p75NTR with alpha- and gamma-secretases, yielding a 20-kd intracellular domain (p75(ICD)) that translocates to the nucleus. This process was accompanied by delayed apoptosis. In AD, p75(ICD) was significantly increased in human entorhinal cortex. Although human frontal cortex has been described as showing a higher pro-NGF increase in AD, the increase in the entorhinal cortex paralleled p75NTR processing in its intracellular domain. In addition, pro-NGF isolated from AD-affected brains differed functionally from pro-NGF isolated from comparably aged control brains, with pro-NGF isolated from control brains being unstable and undergoing degradation to NGF when added to cell culture. As p75(ICD) and pro-NGF are both mediators of apoptosis and are both found in increased levels in the cerebral cortex in AD, the present data have implications for understanding neuronal degeneration in AD.

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