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Substance P activates ADAM9 mRNA expression and induces α-secretase-mediated amyloid precursor protein cleavage

Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, CNR, Via del Fosso di Fiorano, 65, 00143 Rome, Italy.
Neuropharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.82). 04/2012; 62(5-6):1954-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.12.025
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Altered levels of Substance P (SP), a neuropeptide endowed with neuroprotective and anti-apoptotic properties, were found in brain areas and spinal fluid of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. One of the hallmarks of AD is the abnormal extracellular deposition of neurotoxic beta amyloid (Aβ) peptides, derived from the proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP). In the present study, we confirmed, the neurotrophic action of SP in cultured rat cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) and investigated its effects on APP metabolism. Incubation with low (5 mM) potassium induced apoptotic cell death of CGCs and amyloidogenic processing of APP, whereas treatment with SP (200 nM) reverted these effects via NK1 receptors. The non-amyloidogenic effect of SP consisted of reduction of Aβ(1-42), increase of sAPPα and enhanced α-secretase activity, without a significant change in steady-state levels of cellular APP. The intracellular mechanisms whereby SP alters APP metabolism were further investigated by measuring mRNA and/or steady-state protein levels of key enzymes involved with α-, β- and γ-secretase activity. Among them, Adam9, both at the mRNA and protein level, was the only enzyme to be significantly down-regulated following the induction of apoptosis (K5) and up-regulated after SP treatment. In addition to its neuroprotective properties, this study shows that SP is able to stimulate non-amyloidogenic APP processing, thereby reducing the possibility of generation of toxic Aβ peptides in brain.

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