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Metabolic Regulation of Brain Aβ by Neprilysin

Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1550-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059946

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Abstract

Amyloid β peptide (Aβ), the pathogenic agent of Alzheimer's disease (AD), is a physiological metabolite in the brain. We examined the role of neprilysin, a candidate Aβ-degrading peptidase, in the metabolism using neprilysin gene-disrupted mice. Neprilysin deficiency resulted in defects both in the degradation of exogenously administered Aβ and in the metabolic suppression of the endogenous Aβ levels in a gene dose-dependent manner. The regional levels of Aβ in the neprilysin-deficient mouse brain were in the distinct order of hippocampus, cortex, thalamus/striatum, and cerebellum, where hippocampus has the highest level and cerebellum the lowest, correlating with the vulnerability to Aβ deposition in brains of humans with AD. Our observations suggest that even partial down-regulation of neprilysin activity, which could be caused by aging, can contribute to AD development by promoting Aβ accumulation.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: saido{at}brain.riken.go.jp

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