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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 27;104(48):19114-9. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Neuroglobin attenuates beta-amyloid neurotoxicity in vitro and transgenic Alzheimer phenotype in vivo.

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Buck Institute for Age Research, 8001 Redwood Boulevard, Novato, CA 94945, USA.


Neuroglobin (Ngb), a vertebrate globin expressed primarily in neurons, is induced by and protects against neuronal hypoxia and cerebral ischemia. To investigate the spectrum and mechanism of Ngb's neuroprotective action, we studied the effect of transgenic overexpression of Ngb on NMDA and beta-amyloid (Abeta) toxicity in murine cortical neuron cultures in vitro and on the phenotype of Alzheimer's disease (AD) transgenic (APP(Sw,Ind)) mice. Compared with cortical neuron cultures from wild-type mice, cultures from Ngb-overexpressing transgenic (Ngb-Tg mice) were resistant to the toxic effects of NMDA and Abeta(25-35), as measured by polarization of cell membrane lipid rafts, mitochondrial aggregation, lactate dehydrogenase release, and nuclear fragmentation. In addition, compared with APP(Sw,Ind) mice, double-transgenic (Ngb-Tg x APP(Sw,Ind)) mice showed reductions in thioflavin-S-stained extracellular Abeta deposits, decreased levels of Abeta(1-40) and Abeta(1-42), and improved behavioral performance in a Y-maze test of spontaneous alternations. These findings suggest that the spectrum of Ngb's neuroprotective action extends beyond hypoxic-ischemic insults. Ngb may protect neurons from NMDA and Abeta toxicity by inhibiting the formation of a death-signaling membrane complex, and interventions that increase Ngb expression could have therapeutic application in AD and other neurodegenerative disorders.

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