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J Biol Chem. 2010 Jul 16;285(29):22091-102. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.102277. Epub 2010 May 14.

Reduction of brain beta-amyloid (Abeta) by fluvastatin, a hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor, through increase in degradation of amyloid precursor protein C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs) and Abeta clearance.

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Department of Clinical Gene Therapy, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Epidemiological studies suggest that statins (hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors) could reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease. Although one possible explanation is through an effect on beta-amyloid (Abeta) metabolism, its effect remains to be elucidated. Here, we explored the molecular mechanisms of how statins influence Abeta metabolism. Fluvastatin at clinical doses significantly reduced Abeta and amyloid precursor protein C-terminal fragment (APP-CTF) levels among APP metabolites in the brain of C57BL/6 mice. Chronic intracerebroventricular infusion of lysosomal inhibitors blocked these effects, indicating that up-regulation of the lysosomal degradation of endogenous APP-CTFs is involved in reduced Abeta production. Biochemical analysis suggested that this was mediated by enhanced trafficking of APP-CTFs from endosomes to lysosomes, associated with marked changes of Rab proteins, which regulate endosomal function. In primary neurons, fluvastatin enhanced the degradation of APP-CTFs through an isoprenoid-dependent mechanism. Because our previous study suggests additive effects of fluvastatin on Abeta metabolism, we examined Abeta clearance rates by using the brain efflux index method and found its increased rates at high Abeta levels from brain. As LRP1 in brain microvessels was increased, up-regulation of LRP1-mediated Abeta clearance at the blood-brain barrier might be involved. In cultured brain microvessel endothelial cells, fluvastatin increased LRP1 and the uptake of Abeta, which was blocked by LRP1 antagonists, through an isoprenoid-dependent mechanism. Overall, the present study demonstrated that fluvastatin reduced Abeta level by an isoprenoid-dependent mechanism. These results have important implications for the development of disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer disease as well as understanding of Abeta metabolism.

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