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Nature. 2014 Nov 13;515(7526):274-8. doi: 10.1038/nature13800. Epub 2014 Oct 12.

A three-dimensional human neural cell culture model of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

  • 11] Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA [2].
  • 21] Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA [2] Division of Mass Spectrometry Research, Korea Basic Science Institute, Cheongju-si, Chungbuk 363-883, South Korea [3].
  • 31] Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA [2] Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, Life and Brain Center, University of Bonn and Hertie Foundation, 53127 Bonn, Germany.
  • 4Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.
  • 5FM Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  • 6The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
  • 7Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, Life and Brain Center, University of Bonn and Hertie Foundation, 53127 Bonn, Germany.
  • 8Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, characterized by two pathological hallmarks: amyloid-β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease posits that the excessive accumulation of amyloid-β peptide leads to neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated hyperphosphorylated tau. However, to date, no single disease model has serially linked these two pathological events using human neuronal cells. Mouse models with familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) mutations exhibit amyloid-β-induced synaptic and memory deficits but they do not fully recapitulate other key pathological events of Alzheimer's disease, including distinct neurofibrillary tangle pathology. Human neurons derived from Alzheimer's disease patients have shown elevated levels of toxic amyloid-β species and phosphorylated tau but did not demonstrate amyloid-β plaques or neurofibrillary tangles. Here we report that FAD mutations in β-amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1 are able to induce robust extracellular deposition of amyloid-β, including amyloid-β plaques, in a human neural stem-cell-derived three-dimensional (3D) culture system. More importantly, the 3D-differentiated neuronal cells expressing FAD mutations exhibited high levels of detergent-resistant, silver-positive aggregates of phosphorylated tau in the soma and neurites, as well as filamentous tau, as detected by immunoelectron microscopy. Inhibition of amyloid-β generation with β- or γ-secretase inhibitors not only decreased amyloid-β pathology, but also attenuated tauopathy. We also found that glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) regulated amyloid-β-mediated tau phosphorylation. We have successfully recapitulated amyloid-β and tau pathology in a single 3D human neural cell culture system. Our unique strategy for recapitulating Alzheimer's disease pathology in a 3D neural cell culture model should also serve to facilitate the development of more precise human neural cell models of other neurodegenerative disorders.

PMID:
25307057
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4366007
Free PMC Article
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