CART peptide activates the Nrf2/HO-1 antioxidant pathway and protects hippocampal neurons in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease
Jiao W, Wang Y, Kong L, Ou-Yang T, Meng Q, Fu Q and Hu Z
The accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) and oxidative stress damage in the brain are recognized as early features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide may possibly play an antioxidative role in neurons. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential antioxidant mechanism of CART peptide in a rat model of AD. We microinjected of Aβ (2μl/4μg/hemisphere) into rat hippocampus to set a rat model of AD. A pre-microinjection of CART peptide (1μl/0.02μg/hemisphere) into rat hippocampus was administered for five consecutive days before Aβ treatment. We found that Aβ microinjection led to reduction of endogenous CART level in rat hippocampus. CART pretreatment improved the spatial memory and locomotor ability of AD rats. CART peptide decreased the Aβ and Aβ production-associated enzyme BACE1 levels. Moreover, CART peptide attenuated the oxidative stress damage with a concrete manifestation of increased MDA as well as decreased T-SOD, GSH and ATP levels in the hippocampus of Aβ-treated rat, which may be causatively implicated the activating of Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway. Furthermore, CART peptide attenuated neuronal apoptosis with decreased Bax, caspase-9 and caspase-3 levels and increased Bcl-2 level in rat hippocampus. Our results therefore indicate that CART peptide could serve as an antioxidant in early therapy for AD.
Rosmarinic acid attenuates β-amyloid-induced oxidative stress via Akt/GSK-3β/Fyn-mediated Nrf2 activation in PC12 cells
Rong H, Liang Y and Niu Y
Oxidative stress is an important pathogenic factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently, nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) has emerged as a master regulator for the endogenous antioxidant response, and thus represents an attractive therapeutic target against AD. The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that rosmarinic acid (RosA) attenuates amyloid-β (Aβ)-evoked oxidative stress through activating Nrf2-inducible cellular antioxidant defense system. Here, we reported that RosA attenuated Aβ-induced cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and lipid hydroperoxides (LPO). Interestingly, knockdown of Nrf2 by plasmid-based short hairpin RNA (shRNA) abrogated, at least in part, RosA-mediated neuroprotection in Aβ-challenged PC12 cells. Mechanistically, RosA enhanced the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and binding to antioxidant response element (ARE) core element but did not induced Nrf2 transcription. Simultaneously, RosA induced a set of Nrf2 downstream target genes encoding phase-II antioxidant enzymes. Furthermore, RosA enhanced protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) phosphorylation at Ser9, and Fyn phosphorylation. Noteworthy, pharmacological inhibition or gene knockdown studies demonstrated that Akt locate upstream of GSK-3β and regulate Nrf2 through Fyn in the context of PC12 cells pre-incubated with RosA following exposed to Aβ. Conversely, the antioxidant effects of RosA could be blocked by Akt inhibitors LY294002, GSK-3β inhibitor LiCl, Nrf2 shRNA, or Fyn shRNA in Aβ-challenged PC12 cells. Consequently, the antioxidant effects of RosA are mediated predominantly by Akt/GSK-3β/Fyn pathway through increased activity of Nrf2. These results suggest, although do not prove, that RosA can be a promising candidate for neuroprotective treatment of AD.
Epigenetic modification of Nrf2 by sulforaphane increases the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory capacity in a cellular model of Alzheimer's disease
Zhao F, Zhang J and Chang N
Sulforaphane was reported to exert neuroprotective effects via upregulating expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and has received increasing attention as an alternative candidate for treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the mechanism to account for Nrf2 upregulation by sulforaphane in AD remains unknown. Herein, we found that sulforaphane upregulated Nrf2 expression and promoted Nrf2 nuclear translocation via decreasing DNA methylation levels of the Nrf2 promoter in mouse neuroblastoma N2a cells stably expressing human Swedish mutant amyloid precursor protein (N2a/APPswe cells), a cellular model of AD. Furthermore, sulforaphane (1.25 and 2.5 μM) decreased the levels of amyloid β 1-40 (Aβ) (21.7% and 33.4% decrease for intracellular Aβ; 22.0% and 30.2% decrease in culture medium), Aβ (26.4% and 42.9% decrease for intracellular Aβ; 25.8% and 43.8% decrease in culture medium), reactive oxygen species (15.0% and 28.5% decrease), and malondialdehyde (MDA) (34.4% and 39.2% decrease) and increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) (60.0% and 89.3% increase) activity in N2a/APPswe cells. Sulforaphane also decreased the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β) (16.5% and 33.6% decrease) and IL-6 (15.6% and 26.1% decrease) and reduced phosphorylated nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) p65 (19.2% and 32.2% decrease), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) (20.5% and 28.6% decrease), and iNOS protein (40.2% and 54.7% decrease) expression levels in N2a/APPswe cells. Our study suggested that sulforaphane upregulated the expression of Nrf2 and promoted the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 by decreasing DNA demethylation levels of the Nrf2 promoter, thus leading to antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects in a cellular model of AD.
Dl-3-n-Butylphthalide Inhibits NLRP3 Inflammasome and Mitigates Alzheimer's-Like Pathology via Nrf2-TXNIP-TrX Axis
Wang CY, Xu Y, Wang X, Guo C, Wang T and Wang ZY
Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation play important roles in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), an endogenous inhibitor of antioxidant thioredoxin, is suspected to be an important modulator of oxidative stress and inflammation. However, the underlying mechanism involved in the abnormal homeostasis of TXNIP-thioredoxin (TrX) in AD pathogenesis remains unclear.
Dietary Vitamin E Status Dictates Oxidative Stress Outcomes by Modulating Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation in Alzheimer Disease Model APP/PS1 Mice
Dong S, Huang X, Zhen J, Van Halm-Lutterodt N, Wang J, Zhou C and Yuan L
Quite a number of studies have examined the effects of fish oil supplementation on cognitive performance in different transgenic animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, inconsistent and controversial outcomes have been derived from these experiments. In order to investigate whether the beneficial effect of fish oil supplementation on cognition was dietary VE status associated, fish oil dietary intervention was carried out in transgenic APP/PS1 (APP/PS1) mice. Control mice (C57BL/6J mice) were fed a normal control diet. APP/PS1 mice were assigned to a normal control diet group and low VE diet + fish oil supplement, normal VE diet + fish oil supplement, and high VE diet + fish oil supplement groups, respectively. After 7 months of dietary intervention, we found that fish oil supplementation improved behavioral performance, alleviated brain beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaque burden, and attenuated the oxidative stress in APP/PS1 mice by increasing cortical GSH content and total antioxidant capacity, as well as by decreasing MDA level. Fish oil treatment increased cortical n-3 PUFA concentration and decreased n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio in APP/PS1 mice. Fatty acid transporters, Nrf2 and downstream targets involved in cortical and hippocampal antioxidant system were also modulated by fish oil-supplemented diet. Our data demonstrate that fish oil supplementation exerts an enhanced modulatory effect on the antioxidant system and fatty acid concentrations in APP/PS1 mice fed on lowly or averagely concentrated level of VE-containing diet than in mice fed with VE-rich diet. The current data do support previous findings that already dictate the beneficial effect of n-3 PUFAs on cognitive function. Moreover, the cognition promoting effects of n-3 PUFAs may be dietary VE status related.
Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Ketogenic Diet: New Perspectives for Neuroprotection in Alzheimer's Disease
Pinto A, Bonucci A, Maggi E, Corsi M and Businaro R
The ketogenic diet, originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy in non-responder children, is spreading to be used in the treatment of many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. The main activity of the ketogenic diet has been related to improved mitochondrial function and decreased oxidative stress. B-Hydroxybutyrate, the most studied ketone body, has been shown to reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving mitochondrial respiration: it stimulates the cellular endogenous antioxidant system with the activation of nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), it modulates the ratio between the oxidized and reduced forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD⁺/NADH) and it increases the efficiency of electron transport chain through the expression of uncoupling proteins. Furthermore, the ketogenic diet performs anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB) activation and nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich-containing family, pyrin domain-containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome as well as inhibiting histone deacetylases (HDACs), improving memory encoding. The underlying mechanisms and the perspectives for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are discussed.
Kynurenic Acid Restores Nrf2 Levels and Prevents Quinolinic Acid-Induced Toxicity in Rat Striatal Slices
Ferreira FS, Biasibetti-Brendler H, Pierozan P, Schmitz F, Bertó CG, Prezzi CA, Manfredini V and Wyse ATS
Kynurenic acid (KYNA) and quinolinic acid (QUIN) are metabolites produced in the degradation of tryptophan and have important neurological activities. KYNA/QUIN ratio changes are known to be associated with central nervous system disorders, such Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington diseases. In the present study, we investigate the ability of KYNA in prevent the first events preceding QUIN-induced neurodegeneration in striatal slices of rat. We evaluated the protective effect of KYNA on oxidative status (reactive oxygen species production, antioxidant enzymes activities, lipid peroxidation, nitrite levels, protein and DNA damage, and iNOS immunocontent), mitochondrial function (mitochondrial mass, membrane potential, and respiratory chain enzymes), and Na,K-ATPase in striatal slices of rats treated with QUIN. Since QUIN alters the levels of Nrf2, we evaluated the influence of KYNA protection on this parameter. Striatal slices from 30-day-old Wistar rats were preincubated with KYNA (100 μM) for 15 min, followed by incubation with 100-μM QUIN for 30 min. Results showed that KYNA prevented the increase of ROS production caused by QUIN and restored antioxidant enzyme activities and the protein and lipid damage, as well as the Nrf2 levels. KYNA also prevented the effects of QUIN on mitochondrial mass and mitochondrial membrane potential, as well as the decrease in the activities of complex II, SDH, and Na,K-ATPase. We suggest that KYNA prevents changes in Nrf2 levels, oxidative imbalance, and mitochondrial dysfunction caused by QUIN in striatal slices. This study elucidates some of the protective effects of KYNA against the damage caused by QUIN toxicity.
Multiple mechanisms of dimethyl fumarate in amyloid β-induced neurotoxicity in human neuronal cells
Campolo M, Casili G, Lanza M, Filippone A, Paterniti I, Cuzzocrea S and Esposito E
Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by a complex heterogeneity of pathological changes, and any therapeutic approach categorically requires a multi-targeted way. It has been demonstrated that together with the hallmarks of the disease such as neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, oxidative and inflammatory stress covered an important role. Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is an orally bioavailable methyl ester of fumaric acid and activator of Nrf2 with potential neuroprotective and immunomodulating activities. Therefore, the aim of the present work was to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of DMF, compared with its active metabolite monomethyl fumarate (MMF) (both at 30 μM) in an in vitro Alzheimer's model using SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell lines stimulated with amyloid-beta (Aβ). Moreover, the effect of DMF, compared with MMF, was evaluate by an ex vivo model using organotypic hippocampal slice cultures stimulated with Aβ (1 μg/ml), to better understand its action in a pathological setting. In both models, DMF pre-treatment (30 μM) preserved cellular viability from Aβ stimulation, reducing tau hyper-phosphorylation, much more efficiently then MMF (30 μM). Moreover, DMF was able to induce an activation of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1), decreasing the severity of oxidative stress. Our results showed important multi-protective effects of DMF pre-treatment from Aβ stimulation both in in vitro and ex vivo models, highlighting an Nrf2/NF-κB-dependent mechanism, which could provide a valuable support to the therapies for neurodegenerative diseases today.
Pharmacological activation of the Nrf2 pathway by 3H-1, 2-dithiole-3-thione is neuroprotective in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease
Cui Y, Ma S, Zhang C, Li D, Yang B, Lv P, Xing Q, Huang T, Yang GL, Cao W and Guan F
Accumulating evidence suggests that oxidative stress induced by beta-amyloid (Aβ) is implicated in the pathlogical progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). 3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione (D3T), the simplest compound of the sulfur-containing dithiolethiones, has been proved to be a strongly active antioxidant factor by regulation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Previous study reported that D3T confers protection to AD cell model in vitro, however, the neuroprotective effect of D3T in the AD mammalian model is unknown. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of D3T in the Tg2576 AD mouse model and investigate the mechanisms underlying its beneficial effects. We showed that intraperitoneal administration of D3T significantly alleviated cognitive deficits in AD mice and dramatically decreased insoluble Aβ level and oxidative stress. Further mechanistic studies revealed that D3T significantly promoted hippocampal neurogenesis, and up-regulated levels of silent information regulator 1 (Sirt1), Nrf2 and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Moreover, the positive effect of D3T on behavioral performance of AD mice was markedly attenuated by inhibition of the Sirt1/Nrf2 pathway by the antagonist EX527. In summary, our studies on a mouse AD model indicate that D3T could serve as a potential therapeutic agent for this devastating disease.
Transcriptional regulators of redox balance and other homeostatic processes with the potential to alter neurodegenerative disease trajectory
Burnside SW and Hardingham GE
Diverse neurodegenerative diseases share some common aspects to their pathology, with many showing evidence of disruption to the brain's numerous homeostatic processes. As such, imbalanced inflammatory status, glutamate dyshomeostasis, hypometabolism and oxidative stress are implicated in many disorders. That these pathological processes can influence each other both up- and downstream makes for a complicated picture, but means that successfully targeting one area may have an effect on others. This targeting requires an understanding of the mechanisms by which homeostasis is maintained during health, in order to uncover strategies to boost homeostasis in disease. A case in point is redox homeostasis, maintained by antioxidant defences co-ordinately regulated by the transcription factor Nrf2, and capable of preventing not only oxidative stress but also inflammation and neuronal loss in neurodegenerative disease models. The emergence of other master regulators of homeostatic processes in the brain controlling inflammation, mitochondrial biogenesis, glutamate uptake and energy metabolism raises the question as to whether they too can be targeted to alter disease trajectory.
Effect of high-fat diet on cognitive impairment in triple-transgenic mice model of Alzheimer's disease
Sah SK, Lee C, Jang JH and Park GH
High-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity is a risk factor for cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been reported that two typical neuropathological markers of AD, β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide and hyperphosphorylated protein tau can cause neuronal apoptosis via oxidative stress, which ultimately leads to cognitive dysfunction. In this study, we tried to explore the molecular pathway underlying memory impairment in young AD transgenic mice model in response to HFD. We maintained non-transgenic control mice (non-Tg) and triple transgenic AD (3xTg-AD) mice aged 8 weeks on either normal diet (ND) containing 10% fat or HFD (60% fat) for 16 weeks. Cognitive functions were evaluated by Morris water maze and Y-maze tests. Behavioral tests showed a significant memory impairment in 3xTg-AD mice fed with HFD. HFD did not alter the levels of Aβ and phospho-tau protein in the cortical region regardless of groups. However, 3xTg-AD mice fed with HFD exhibited increased neuronal oxidative stress and apoptosis as assessed by augmentation of lipid peroxidation, activation of caspase-3 and elevated ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. Furthermore, HFD markedly reduced the activation of redox-sensitive transcription factor NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) by suppressing its up-stream regulatory protein kinase B/Akt as well as down-stream targets such as heme oxygenase-1 and manganese superoxide dismutase in these mice. Our findings suggest that HFD may accelerate cognitive impairment by enhancing oxidative stress and aggravating neuronal apoptosis via inactivation of Nrf2 signaling pathway.
NRF2 deficiency replicates transcriptomic changes in Alzheimer's patients and worsens APP and TAU pathology
Rojo AI, Pajares M, Rada P, Nuñez A, Nevado-Holgado AJ, Killik R, Van Leuven F, Ribe E, Lovestone S, Yamamoto M and Cuadrado A
Failure to translate successful neuroprotective preclinical data to a clinical setting in Alzheimer's disease (AD) indicates that amyloidopathy and tauopathy alone provide an incomplete view of disease. We have tested here the relevance of additional homeostatic deviations that result from loss of activity of transcription factor NRF2, a crucial regulator of multiple stress responses whose activity declines with ageing. A transcriptomic analysis demonstrated that NRF2-KO mouse brains reproduce 7 and 10 of the most dysregulated pathways of human ageing and AD brains, respectively. Then, we generated a mouse that combines amyloidopathy and tauopathy with either wild type (AT-NRF2-WT) or NRF2-deficiency (AT-NRF2-KO). AT-NRF2-KO brains presented increased markers of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation as well as higher levels of insoluble phosphorylated-TAU and Aβ*56 compared to AT-NRF2-WT mice. Young adult AT-NRF2-KO mice exhibited deficits in spatial learning and memory and reduced long term potentiation in the perforant pathway. This study demonstrates the relevance of normal homeostatic responses that decline with ageing, such as NRF2 activity, in the protection against proteotoxic, inflammatory and oxidative stress and provide a new strategy to fight AD.
Can Co-Activation of Nrf2 and Neurotrophic Signaling Pathway Slow Alzheimer's Disease?
Murphy KE and Park JJ
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a multifaceted disease that is hard to treat by single-modal treatment. AD starts with amyloid peptides, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress and later is accompanied with chronic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy dysfunction, resulting in more complicated pathogenesis. Currently, few treatments can modify the complicated pathogenic progress of AD. Compared to the treatment with exogenous antioxidants, the activation of global antioxidant defense system via Nrf2 looks more promising in attenuating oxidative stress in AD brains. Accompanying the activation of the Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defense system that reduce the AD-causative factor, oxidative stress, it is also necessary to activate the neurotrophic signaling pathway that replaces damaged organelles and molecules with new ones. Thus, the dual actions to activate both the Nrf2 antioxidant system and neurotrophic signaling pathway are expected to provide a better strategy to modify AD pathogenesis. Here, we review the current understanding of AD pathogenesis and neuronal defense systems and discuss a possible way to co-activate the Nrf2 antioxidant system and neurotrophic signaling pathway with the hope of helping to find a better strategy to slow AD.
Apolipoprotein E - A Multifunctional Protein with Implications in Various Pathologies as a Result of Its Structural Features
Tudorache IF, Trusca VG and Gafencu AV
Apolipoprotein E (apoE), a 34 kDa glycoprotein, mediates hepatic and extrahepatic uptake of plasma lipoproteins and cholesterol efflux from lipid-laden macrophages. In humans, three structural different apoE isoforms occur, with subsequent functional changes and pathological consequences. Here, we review data supporting the involvement of apoE structural domains and isoforms in normal and altered lipid metabolism, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as stress-related pathological states. Studies using truncated apoE forms provided valuable information regarding the regions and residues responsible for its properties. ApoE3 renders protection against cardiovascular diseases by maintaining lipid homeostasis, while apoE2 is associated with dysbetalipoproteinemia. ApoE4 is a recognized risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, although the exact mechanism of the disease initiation and progression is not entirely elucidated. ApoE is also implicated in infections with herpes simplex type-1, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses. Interacting with both viral and host molecules, apoE isoforms differently interfere with the viral life cycle. ApoE exerts anti-inflammatory effects, switching macrophage phenotype from the proinflammatory M1 to the anti-inflammatory M2, suppressing CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes, and reducing IL-2 production. The anti-oxidative properties of apoE are isoform-dependent, modulating the levels of various molecules (Nrf2 target genes, metallothioneins, paraoxonase). Mimetic peptides were designed to exploit apoE beneficial properties. The "structure correctors" which convert apoE4 into apoE3-like molecules have pharmacological potential. Despite no successful strategy is yet available for apoE-related disorders, several promising candidates deserve further improvement and exploitation.
Piperlongumine restores the balance of autophagy and apoptosis by increasing BCL2 phosphorylation in rotenone-induced Parkinson disease models
Liu J, Liu W, Lu Y, Tian H, Duan C, Lu L, Gao G, Wu X, Wang X and Yang H
Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer disease and is caused by genetics, environmental factors and aging, with few treatments currently available. Apoptosis and macroautophagy/autophagy play critical roles in PD pathogenesis; as such, modulating their balance is a potential treatment strategy. BCL2 (B cell leukemia/lymphoma 2) is a key molecule regulating this balance. Piperlongumine (PLG) is an alkaloid extracted from Piper longum L. that has antiinflammatory and anticancer effects. The present study investigated the protective effects of PLG in rotenone-induced PD cell and mouse models. We found that PLG administration (2 and 4 mg/kg) for 4 wk attenuated motor deficits in mice and prevented the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra induced by oral administration of rotenone (10 mg/kg) for 6 wk. PLG improved cell viability and enhanced mitochondrial function in primary neurons and SK-N-SH cells. These protective effects were exerted via inhibition of apoptosis and induction of autophagy through enhancement of BCL2 phosphorylation at Ser70. These results demonstrate that PLG exerts therapeutic effects in a rotenone-induced PD models by restoring the balance between apoptosis and autophagy.

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