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Nature. 1991 Jul 18;352(6332):239-41.

Formation of beta-amyloid protein deposits in brains of transgenic mice.

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California Biotechnology Inc., Mountain View 94043.


Deposits of beta-amyloid are one of the main pathological characteristics of Alzheimer's disease. The beta-amyloid peptide constituent (relative molecular mass 4,200) of the deposits is derived from the beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP) which is expressed in several different isoforms. The two most prevalent beta-APP isoforms are distinguished by either the presence (beta-APP751) or absence (beta-APP695) of a Kunitz serine protease inhibitor domain. Changes in the abundance of different beta-APP messenger RNAs in brains of Alzheimer's disease victims have been widely reported. Although these results have been controversial, most evidence favours an increase in the mRNAs encoding protease inhibitor-containing isoforms of beta-APP and it is proposed that this change contributes to beta-amyloid formation. We have now produced an imbalance in the normal neuronal ratio of beta-APP isoforms by preparing transgenic mice expressing additional beta-APP751 under the control of a neural-specific promoter. The cortical and hippocampal brain regions of the transgenic mice display extracellular beta-amyloid immunoreactive deposits varying in size (less than 5-50 microns) and abundance. These results suggest that one mechanism of beta-amyloid formation may involve a disruption of the normal ratio of neuronal beta-APP isoform expression and support a direct relationship between increased expression of Kunitz inhibitor-bearing beta-APP isoforms and beta-amyloid deposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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