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Downregulation of CREB expression in Alzheimer's brain and in Aβ-treated rat hippocampal neurons

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Author(s): Pugazhenthi Subbiah | Wang Maorong | Pham Serena | Sze Chun-I | Eckman Christopher

Journal: Molecular Neurodegeneration
ISSN 1750-1326

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 60;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease | CREB | Oxidative stress | Apoptosis | Tg2576 mice | Laser capture microdissection

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Oxidative stress plays an important role in neuronal dysfunction and neuron loss in Alzheimer's brain. Previous studies have reported downregulation of CREB-mediated transcription by oxidative stress and Aβ. The promoter for CREB itself contains cyclic AMP response elements. Therefore, we examined the expression of CREB in the hippocampal neurons of Tg2576 mice, AD post-mortem brain and in cultured rat hippocampal neurons exposed to Aβ aggregates. Results Laser Capture Microdissection of hippocampal neurons from Tg2576 mouse brain revealed decreases in the mRNA levels of CREB and its target, BDNF. Immunohistochemical analysis of Tg2576 mouse brain showed decreases in CREB levels in hippocampus and cortex. Markers of oxidative stress were detected in transgenic mouse brain and decreased CREB staining was observed in regions showing abundance of astrocytes. There was also an inverse correlation between SDS-extracted Aβ and CREB protein levels in Alzheimer's post-mortem hippocampal samples. The levels of CREB-regulated BDNF and BIRC3, a caspase inhibitor, decreased and the active cleaved form of caspase-9, a marker for the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, was elevated in these samples. Exposure of rat primary hippocampal neurons to Aβ fibrils decreased CREB promoter activity. Decrease in CREB mRNA levels in Aβ-treated neurons was reversed by the antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine. Overexpression of CREB by adenoviral transduction led to significant protection against Aβ-induced neuronal apoptosis. Conclusions Our findings suggest that chronic downregulation of CREB-mediated transcription results in decrease of CREB content in the hippocampal neurons of AD brain which may contribute to exacerbation of disease progression.
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