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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Nov 25;100(24):14187-92. Epub 2003 Nov 14.

Dietary Cu stabilizes brain superoxide dismutase 1 activity and reduces amyloid Abeta production in APP23 transgenic mice.

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Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neurobiology, University of the Saarland Medical Center, D-66421 Homburg, Germany.


The Cu-binding beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP), and the amyloid Abeta peptide have been proposed to play a role in physiological metal regulation. There is accumulating evidence of an unbalanced Cu homeostasis with a causative or diagnostic link to Alzheimer's disease. Whereas elevated Cu levels are observed in APP knockout mice, APP overexpression results in reduced Cu in transgenic mouse brain. Moreover, Cu induces a decrease in Abeta levels in APP-transfected cells in vitro. To investigate the influence of bioavailable Cu, transgenic APP23 mice received an oral treatment with Cu-supplemented sucrose-sweetened drinking water (1). Chronic APP overexpression per se reduced superoxide dismutase 1 activity in transgenic mouse brain, which could be restored to normal levels after Cu treatment (2). A significant increase of brain Cu indicated its bioavailability on Cu treatment in APP23 mice, whereas Cu levels remained unaffected in littermate controls (3). Cu treatment lowered endogenous CNS Abeta before a detectable reduction of amyloid plaques. Thus, APP23 mice reveal APP-induced alterations linked to Cu homeostasis, which can be reversed by addition of dietary Cu.

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