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J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 15;278(33):30748-54. Epub 2003 May 31.

Abeta42-lowering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs preserve intramembrane cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and ErbB-4 receptor and signaling through the APP intracellular domain.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


Epidemiological studies indicate that long term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) confers protection from Alzheimer's disease, and some NSAIDs were shown to specifically decrease production of the amyloidogenic Abeta42 peptide, most likely by direct modulation of gamma-secretase activity. In contrast to gamma-secretase inhibitors, Abeta42-lowering NSAIDs do not impair S3 cleavage in the NOTCH receptor and release of the NOTCH intracellular domain, a finding with conceptual implications for the development of safer drugs targeting Abeta production through gamma-secretase modulation. Intramembrane cleavage and release of an intracellular signaling domain has recently been demonstrated in a number of additional gamma-secretase substrates. We now show in cell-based assays that intramembrane cleavage of APP and ErbB-4 receptor is not impaired by the Abeta42-lowering NSAIDs, sulindac sulfide and ibuprofen. Generation of the APP intracellular domain (AICD) was further not inhibited in a cell-free assay at concentrations far exceeding those effective in reducing Abeta42 production. Closer inspection of AICD signaling showed that stabilization of the AICD peptide by FE65 and AICD-mediated transcription were also retained at Abeta42-lowering concentrations. These results demonstrate that S3-like/intramembrane cleavage is preserved by Abeta42-lowering NSAIDs in at least three substrates of gamma-secretase APP, ErbB-4, and NOTCH and underline the striking specificity by which these drugs target Abeta42 production.

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