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J Biol Chem. 2018 Nov 23;293(47):18242-18269. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.001245. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Mini-GAGR, an intranasally applied polysaccharide, activates the neuronal Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defense system.

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From the Departments of Neurosciences and.
Pathology, College of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43614 and.
the Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43607.
From the Departments of Neurosciences and


Oxidative stress triggers and exacerbates neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Various antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, but these agents have little efficacy due to poor blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Additionally, single-modal antioxidants are easily overwhelmed by global oxidative stress. Activating nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NF-E2)-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and its downstream antioxidant system are considered very effective for reducing global oxidative stress. Thus far, only a few BBB-permeable agents activate the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant system. Here, we discovered a BBB-bypassing Nrf2-activating polysaccharide that may attenuate AD pathogenesis. Mini-GAGR, a 0.7-kDa cleavage product of low-acyl gellan gum, increased the levels and activities of Nrf2-dependent antioxidant enzymes, decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) under oxidative stress in mouse cortical neurons, and robustly protected mitochondria from oxidative insults. Moreover, mini-GAGR increased the nuclear localization and transcriptional activity of Nrf2 similarly to known Nrf2 activators. Mechanistically, mini-GAGR increased the dissociation of Nrf2 from its inhibitor, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), and induced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in a protein kinase C (PKC)- and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR1)-dependent manner. Finally, 20-day intranasal treatment of 3xTg-AD mice with 100 nmol of mini-GAGR increased nuclear p-Nrf2 and growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43) levels in hippocampal neurons, reduced p-tau and β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide-stained neurons, and improved memory. The BBB-bypassing Nrf2-activating polysaccharide reported here may be effective in reducing oxidative stress and neurodegeneration in AD.


Alzheimer disease; BBB-bypassing polysaccharide; amyloid; antioxidant; antioxidant enzymes; mini-GAGR; neurodegeneration; nuclear factor 2 (erythroid-derived 2-like factor) (NFE2L2) (Nrf2); oxidative stress; polysaccharide; tau

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