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J Biol Chem. 2014 Jun 20;289(25):17917-31. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.557439. Epub 2014 May 13.

A neuroprotective brain-penetrating endopeptidase fusion protein ameliorates Alzheimer disease pathology and restores neurogenesis.

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From the NeuroTransit, Inc., San Diego, California 92121,
the Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, and.
the Departments of Neuroscience and.
the Departments of Neuroscience and Pathology, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California 92093.


Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by widespread neurodegeneration throughout the association cortex and limbic system, deposition of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in the neuropil and around the blood vessels, and formation of neurofibrillary tangles. The endopeptidase neprilysin has been successfully used to reduce the accumulation of Aβ following intracranial viral vector delivery or ex vivo manipulated intracranial delivery. These therapies have relied on direct injections into the brain, whereas a clinically desirable therapy would involve i.v. infusion of a recombinant enzyme. We previously characterized a recombinant neprilysin that contained a 38-amino acid brain-targeting domain. Recombinant cell lines have been generated expressing this brain-targeted enzyme (ASN12). In this report, we characterize the ASN12 recombinant protein for pharmacology in a mouse as well as efficacy in two APPtg mouse models of AD. The recombinant ASN12 transited to the brain with a t½ of 24 h and accumulated to 1.7% of injected dose at 24 h following i.v. delivery. We examined pharmacodynamics in the tg2576 APPtg mouse with the prion promoter APP695 SWE mutation and in the Line41 mThy1 APP751 mutation mouse. Treatment of either APPtg mouse resulted in reduced Aβ, increased neuronal synapses, and improved learning and memory. In addition, the Line41 APPtg mice showed increased levels of C-terminal neuropeptide Y fragments and increased neurogenesis. These results suggest that the recombinant brain-targeted neprilysin, ASN12, may be an effective treatment for AD and warrant further investigation in clinical trials.


Alzheimer Disease; Aβ; Blood Brain Barrier; Brain Penetrating Peptides; Lipoprotein Receptor; NPY; Neprilysin; Neurogenesis; Protein Targeting; Transcytosis

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