Neurotoxic mechanisms caused by the Alzheimer's disease-linked Swedish amyloid precursor protein mutation: oxidative stress, caspases, and the JNK pathway
J Biol Chem 278(30): 28294-302
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Autosomal dominant forms of familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) are caused by mutations of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene and by mutations of the genes encoding for presenilin 1 or presenilin 2. Simultaneously, evidence is provided that increased oxidative stress might play a crucial role in the rapid progression of the Swedish FAD. Here we investigated the effect of the Swedish double mutation (K670M/N671L) in the beta-amyloid precursor protein on oxidative stress-induced cell death mechanisms in PC12 cells. Western blot analysis and cleavage studies of caspase substrates revealed an elevated activity of the executor caspase 3 after treatment with hydrogen peroxide in cells containing the Swedish APP mutation. This elevated activity is the result of the enhanced activation of both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways, including activation of caspase 2 and caspase 8. Furthermore, we observed an enhanced activation of JNK pathway and an attenuation of apoptosis by SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, through protection of mitochondrial dysfunction and reduction of caspase 9 activity. Our findings provide evidence that the massive neurodegeneration in early age of FAD patients could be a result of an increased vulnerability of neurons through activation of different apoptotic pathways as a consequence of elevated levels of oxidative stress.