The p38 mitogen activated protein kinase regulates β-amyloid protein internalization through the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in mouse brain

Kai-Ge Ma, Jia Lv, Wei-Na Yang, Ke-Wei Chang, Xiao-Dan Hu, Li-Li Shi, Wan-Ying Zhai, Hang-Fan Zong, Yi-Hua Qian
Brain Research Bulletin 2018, 137: 41-52
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the most devastating neurodegenerative disorders. Intracellular β-amyloid protein (Aβ) is an early event in AD. It induces the formation of amyloid plaques and neuron damage. The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) has been suggested to play an important role in Aβ caused cognition. It has high affinity with Aβ and could mediate Aβ internalization in vitro. However, whether in mouse brain the p38 MAPK signaling pathway is involved in the regulation of the α7nAChR mediated Aβ internalization and their role in mitochondria remains little known. Therefore, in this study, we revealed that Aβ is internalized by cholinergic and GABAergic neurons. The internalized Aβ were found deposits in lysosomes/endosomes and mitochondria. Aβ could form Aβ-α7nAChR complex with α7nAChR, activates the p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK). And the increasing of α7nAChR could in return mediate Aβ internalization in the cortex and hippocampus. In addition, by using the α7nAChR agonist PNU282987, the p38 phosphorylation level decreases, rescues the biochemical changes which are tightly associated with Aβ-induced apoptosis, such as Bcl2/Bax level, cytochrome c (Cyt c) release. Collectively, the p38 MAPK signaling pathway could regulate the α7nAChR-mediated internalization of Aβ. The activation of α7nAChR or the inhibition of p38 MAPK signaling pathway may be a beneficial therapy to AD.

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