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Neurobiol Dis. 2002 Oct;11(1):166-83.

MAP kinase signaling cascade dysfunction specific to Alzheimer's disease in fibroblasts.

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Laboratory of Adaptive Systems, National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (such as Erk1/2) regulate phosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein tau and processing of the amyloid protein beta, both events critical to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we report that enhanced and prolonged Erk1/2 phosphorylation in response to bradykinin (BK) was detected in fibroblasts of both familial and sporadic AD, but not age-matched controls (AC). The AD-associated abnormality in Erk1/2 phosphorylation was not seen in fibroblasts from Huntington's disease patients with dementia. The elevation of Erk1/2 phosphorylation occurred immediately after BK stimulation and required an IP3-sensitive Ca(2+) release as well as activation of PKC and c-src as upstream events. Treatment of cells with the PI-3 kinase blocker LY924002 partially inhibited the BK-stimulated Erk1/2 phosphorylation in AC, but had no effect in AD cells, suggesting that the BK-induced Erk1/2 phosphorylation in AD cells is independent of PI-3 kinase. Activation of the cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) monitored as an increase in phosphorylation at Ser-133 was also observed after BK stimulation. Unlike the AD-specific differences for Erk1/2, however, the BK-stimulated CREB phosphorylation was not different between AC and AD cells. Abnormal Erk1/2 activities may alter downstream cellular processes such as gene transcription, amyloid precursor protein processing, and tau protein phosphorylation, which contribute to the pathogenesis of AD. Moreover, detection of AD-specific differences in MAP kinase in peripheral tissues may provide an efficient means for early diagnosis of AD as well as help us to identify therapeutic targets for drug discovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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