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J Neurosci. 2003 Mar 15;23(6):1992-6.

Neprilysin gene transfer reduces human amyloid pathology in transgenic mice.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


The degenerative process of Alzheimer's disease is linked to a shift in the balance between amyloid-beta (Abeta) production, clearance, and degradation. Neprilysin has recently been implicated as a major extracellular Abeta degrading enzyme in the brain. However, there has been no direct demonstration that neprilysin antagonizes the deposition of amyloid-beta in vivo. To address this issue, a lentiviral vector expressing human neprilysin (Lenti-Nep) was tested in transgenic mouse models of amyloidosis. We show that unilateral intracerebral injection of Lenti-Nep reduced amyloid-beta deposits by half relative to the untreated side. Furthermore, Lenti-Nep ameliorated neurodegenerative alterations in the frontal cortex and hippocampus of these transgenic mice. These data further support a role for neprilysin in regulating cerebral amyloid deposition and suggest that gene transfer approaches might have potential for the development of alternative therapies for Alzheimer's disease.

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