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Neuroscience. 2012 May 17;210:21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.03.013. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

An apolipoprotein E4 fragment affects matrix metalloproteinase 9, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 and cytokine levels in brain cell lines.

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National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos, Institute of Biology, Agia Paraskevi, Athens 15310, Greece.


Apolipoprotein (apo) E4 isoform, a major risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), is more susceptible to proteolysis than apoE2 and apoE3 isoforms. ApoE4 fragments have been found in AD patients' brain. In the present study, we examined the effect of full-length apoE4 and apoE4 fragments apoE4[Δ(186-299)] and apoE4[Δ(166-299)] on inflammation in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH and human astrocytoma SW-1783 cells. Western blot and zymography analysis showed that treatment of SK-N-SH cells with apoE4[Δ(186-299)], but not full-length apoE4 or the shorter apoE4[Δ(166-299)] fragment, leads to increased extracellular levels of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1). Real-time PCR showed that interleukin (IL)-1β gene expression is also increased in SK-N-SH cells treated with apoE4[Δ(186-299)]. Treatment of SK-N-SH cells with IL-1β leads to increased MMP9 and TIMP1 extracellular levels, suggesting that the induction of IL-1β may be the mechanism by which apoE4[Δ(186-299)] regulates MMP9 and TIMP1 levels in these cells. In contrast to SK-N-SH cells, treatment of SW-1783 cells with apoE4[Δ(186-299)], and to a lesser extent with apoE4, leads to increased TIMP1 extracellular levels without affecting MMP9 levels. Additionally, apoE4[Δ(186-299)] leads to decreased IL-10 gene expression in SK-N-SH cells, whereas both apoE4 and apoE4[Δ(186-299)] lead to decreased TNFα gene expression without affecting IL-1β and IL-10 gene expression in SW-1783 cells. Overall, our findings indicate that a specific apoE4 fragment (apoE4[Δ(186-299)]), with molecular mass similar that of apoE4 fragments detected in AD patients' brain, can influence the level of inflammatory molecules in brain cell lines. It is possible that these phenomena contribute to AD pathogenesis.

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