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Nat Med. 2006 Dec;12(12):1390-6. Epub 2006 Nov 19.

Activation of beta2-adrenergic receptor stimulates gamma-secretase activity and accelerates amyloid plaque formation.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.


Amyloid plaque is the hallmark and primary cause of Alzheimer disease. Mutations of presenilin-1, the gamma-secretase catalytic subunit, can affect amyloid-beta (Abeta) production and Alzheimer disease pathogenesis. However, it is largely unknown whether and how gamma-secretase activity and amyloid plaque formation are regulated by environmental factors such as stress, which is mediated by receptors including beta(2)-adrenergic receptor (beta(2)-AR). Here we report that activation of beta(2)-AR enhanced gamma-secretase activity and thus Abeta production. This enhancement involved the association of beta(2)-AR with presenilin-1 and required agonist-induced endocytosis of beta(2)-AR and subsequent trafficking of gamma-secretase to late endosomes and lysosomes, where Abeta production was elevated. Similar effects were observed after activation of delta-opioid receptor. Furthermore, chronic treatment with beta(2)-AR agonists increased cerebral amyloid plaques in an Alzheimer disease mouse model. Thus, beta(2)-AR activation can stimulate gamma-secretase activity and amyloid plaque formation, which suggests that abnormal activation of beta(2)-AR might contribute to Abeta accumulation in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis.

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