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J Neurosci Res. 2002 Nov 1;70(3):438-46.

Amyloid beta-protein affects cholesterol metabolism in cultured neurons: implications for pivotal role of cholesterol in the amyloid cascade.

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Department of Dementia Research, National Institute for Longevity Sciences, Morioka, Obu, Japan.


Recently, we have found that alterations in cellular cholesterol metabolism are involved in promotion of tau phosphorylation (Fan et al. [2001] J. Neurochem. 76: 391-400; Sawamura et al. [2001] J. Biol. Chem. 276:10314-10319). In addition, we have shown that amyloid beta-protein (A beta) promotes cholesterol release to form A beta-lipid particles (Michikawa et al. [2001] J. Neurosci. 21:7226-7235). These lines of evidence inspired us to conduct further studies on whether A beta affects cholesterol metabolism in neurons, which might lead to tau phosphorylation. Here, we report the effect of A beta1-40 on cholesterol metabolism in cultured neurons prepared from rat cerebral cortex. Oligomeric A beta1-40 inhibited cholesterol synthesis and reduced cellular cholesterol levels in a dose- and time-dependent manner, while freshly dissolved A beta had no effect on cholesterol metabolism. However, oligomeric A beta had no effect on the proteolysis of sterol regulatory element binding protein-2 (SREBP-2) or protein synthesis in cultured neurons. Oligomeric A beta did not enhance lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release from neuronal cells or decrease signals in the cultures reactive to 3,3'-Bis[N,N-bis(carboxymethyl)aminomethyl]fluorescein, hexaacetoxymethyl ester (calcein AM) staining, indicating that A beta used in this experiment did not cause neuronal death during the time course of our experiments. Since alterations in cholesterol metabolism induce tau phosphorylation, our findings that oligomeric A beta alters cellular cholesterol homeostasis may provide new insight into the mechanism underlying the amyloid cascade hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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