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Mol Chem Neuropathol. 1994 Oct-Dec;23(2-3):159-78.

Transforming growth factor-beta protects human neurons against beta-amyloid-induced injury.

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  • 1Neuroimmunobiology and Host Defense Laboratory, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, MN 55404.


Deposition of amyloid fibrils in the brain is a histopathologic hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD) and beta-amyloid protein (A beta), the principal component of amyloid fibrils, has been implicated in the neuropathogenesis of AD. In the present study, we first developed an in vitro model of A beta-induced neurodegeneration using human fetal brain-cell cultures and then tested the hypothesis that cytokines modulate A beta-induced neurodegeneration. When brain-cell cultures were exposed to A beta, marked neuronal loss (60% of neurons by microscopic assessment) and functional impairment (i.e., reduction in uptake of [3H]gamma-aminobutyric acid) were observed after 6 d of incubation. A beta-induced neurodegeneration was dose-dependent with maximal effect at 100 microM. Although interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha had a nominal effect, both the beta 1 and beta 2 isoforms of transforming growth factor-beta dose-dependently protected > 50% of neurons against A beta-induced injury. IL-4 also proved to be neuro-protective. A beta-induced neurodegeneration was accompanied by microglial cell proliferation and enhanced release of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. These findings are consistent with the emerging concept that AD is an inflammatory disease and may lead to new therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing A beta-induced neurotoxicity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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