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Int J Biol Sci. 2014 Jan 21;10(2):181-91. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.6232. eCollection 2014.

Icariin decreases the expression of APP and BACE-1 and reduces the β-amyloid burden in an APP transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

  • Department of Pharmacology, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Key Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Diseases of Ministry of Education, Beijing 100053, China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects and pharmacological mechanisms of icariin, which is the main component in the traditional Chinese herb Epimedium, on β-amyloid (Aβ) production in an amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic (Tg) mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

METHODS:

APPV717I Tg mice were randomly divided into a model group and icariin-treated (30 and 100 μmol/kg per day) groups. Learning-memory abilities were determined by Morris water maze and object recognition tests. Aβ contents were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and immunohistochemistry. Amyloid plaques were detected by Congo red staining and Bielschowsky silver staining. The levels of expression of APP and β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE-1) were measured by western blotting and immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS:

Ten-month-old Tg mice showed obvious learning-memory impairments, and significant increases in Aβ contents, amyloid plaques, and APP and BACE-1 levels in the hippocampus. The intragastric administration of icariin to Tg mice for 6 months (from 4 to 10 months of age) improved the learning-memory abilities and significantly decreased the Aβ contents, amyloid plaques, and APP and BACE-1 levels in the hippocampus.

CONCLUSION:

Icariin reduced the Aβ burden and amyloid plaque deposition in the hippocampus of APP transgenic mice by decreasing the APP and BACE-1 levels. These novel findings suggest that icariin may be a promising treatment in patients with AD.

KEYWORDS:

APPV717I transgenic mice; Alzheimer's disease; BACE-1; Icariin; amyloid plaque; amyloid precursor protein; β-amyloid

PMID:
24550686
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC3927130
Free PMC Article

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