Lisa Smithson

McKnight Brain Institute, Gainesville, Florida, United States

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Publications (15)116.04 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Amyloid-β (Aβ) 42 has been implicated as the initiating molecule in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD); thus, therapeutic strategies that target Aβ42 are of great interest. γ-Secretase modulators (GSMs) are small molecules that selectively decrease Aβ42. We have previously reported that many acidic steroids are GSMs with potencies ranging in the low to mid micromolar concentration with 5β-cholanic acid being the most potent steroid identified GSM with half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of 5.7 μM. Results: We find that the endogenous cholesterol metabolite, 3β-hydroxy-5-cholestenoic acid (CA), is a steroid GSM with enhanced potency (EC50 of 250 nM) relative to 5β-cholanic acid. CA i) is found in human plasma at ~100-300 nM concentrations ii) has the typical acidic GSM signature of decreasing Aβ42 and increasing Aβ38 levels iii) is active in in vitro γ-secretase assay iv) is made in the brain. To test if CA acts as an endogenous GSM, we used Cyp27a1 knockout (Cyp27a1-/-) and Cyp7b1 knockout (Cyp7b1-/-) mice to investigate if manipulation of cholesterol metabolism pathways relevant to CA formation would affect brain Aβ42 levels. Our data show that Cyp27a1-/- had increased brain Aβ42, whereas Cyp7b1-/- mice had decreased brain Aβ42 levels; however, peripheral dosing of up to 100 mg/kg CA did not affect brain Aβ levels. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies with multiple known and novel CA analogs studies failed to reveal CA analogs with increased potency. Conclusion: These data suggest that CA may act as an endogenous GSM within the brain. Although it is conceptually attractive to try and increase the levels of CA in the brain for prevention of AD, our data suggest that this will not be easily accomplished.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 07/2015; 10(1):29. DOI:10.1186/s13024-015-0021-z · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The biological underpinnings linking stress to Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk are poorly understood. We investigated how corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF), a critical stress response mediator, influences amyloid-β (Aβ) production. In cells, CRF treatment increases Aβ production and triggers CRF receptor 1 (CRFR1) and γ-secretase internalization. Co-immunoprecipitation studies establish that γ-secretase associates with CRFR1; this is mediated by β-arrestin binding motifs. Additionally, CRFR1 and γ-secretase co-localize in lipid raft fractions, with increased γ-secretase accumulation upon CRF treatment. CRF treatment also increases γ-secretase activity in vitro, revealing a second, receptor-independent mechanism of action. CRF is the first endogenous neuropeptide that can be shown to directly modulate γ-secretase activity. Unexpectedly, CRFR1 antagonists also increased Aβ. These data collectively link CRF to increased Aβ through γ-secretase and provide mechanistic insight into how stress may increase AD risk. They also suggest that direct targeting of CRF might be necessary to effectively modulate this pathway for therapeutic benefit in AD, as CRFR1 antagonists increase Aβ and in some cases preferentially increase Aβ42 via complex effects on γ-secretase.
    The EMBO Journal 05/2015; 34(12). DOI:10.15252/embj.201488795 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2014; 10(4):P175. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.04.188 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) demonstrates short-term bexarotene treatment clearing preexisting β-amyloid deposits from the brains of APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with low amyloid burden, providing a rationale for repurposing this anticancer agent as an Alzheimer's disease (AD) therapeutic. Using a nearly identical treatment regimen, we were unable to detect any evidence of drug efficacy despite demonstration of target engagement.
    Science 05/2013; 340(6135):924. DOI:10.1126/science.1234089 · 33.61 Impact Factor

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2008; 4(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2008.05.1424 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Analyses of the biologic effects of mutations in the BRI2 (ITM2b) and the amyloid beta precursor protein (APP) genes support the hypothesis that cerebral accumulation of amyloidogenic peptides in familial British and familial Danish dementias and Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with neurodegeneration. We have used somatic brain transgenic technology to express the BRI2 and BRI2-Abeta1-40 transgenes in APP mouse models. Expression of BRI2-Abeta1-40 mimics the suppressive effect previously observed using conventional transgenic methods, further validating the somatic brain transgenic methodology. Unexpectedly, we also find that expression of wild-type human BRI2 reduces cerebral Abeta deposition in an AD mouse model. Additional data indicate that the 23 aa peptide, Bri23, released from BRI2 by normal processing, is present in human CSF, inhibits Abeta aggregation in vitro and mediates its anti-amyloidogenic effect in vivo. These studies demonstrate that BRI2 is a novel mediator of Abeta deposition in vivo.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2008; 28(23):6030-6. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0891-08.2008 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gamma-secretase, a unique aspartyl protease, is required for the regulated intramembrane proteolysis of Notch and APP, pathways that are implicated, respectively, in the pathogenesis of cancer and Alzheimer disease. However, the mechanism whereby reduction of gamma-secretase causes tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that gamma-secretase functions in epithelia as a tumor suppressor in an enzyme activity-dependent manner. Notch signaling is down-regulated and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is activated in SCC caused by genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Moreover, the level of EGFR is inversely correlated with the level of gamma-secretase in fibroblasts, suggesting that the up-regulation of EGFR stimulates hyperproliferation in epithelia of mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Supporting this notion is our finding that the proliferative response of fibroblasts lacking gamma-secretase activity is more sensitive when challenged by either EGF or an inhibitor of EGFR as ompared with wild type cells. Interestingly, the up-regulation of EGFR is independent of Notch signaling, suggesting that the EGFR pathway functions in parallel with Notch in the tumorigenesis of SCC. Collectively, our results establish a novel mechanism linking the EGFR pathway to the tumor suppressor role of gamma-secretase and that mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase represent an excellent rodent model for clarifying pathogenesis of SCC and for testing therapeutic strategy to ameliorate this type of human cancer.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2007; 282(44):32264-73. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M703649200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by a decline in cognitive function and accumulation of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) in extracellular plaques. Mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilins alter APP metabolism resulting in accumulation of Abeta42, a peptide essential for the formation of amyloid deposits and proposed to initiate the cascade leading to AD. However, the role of Abeta40, the more prevalent Abeta peptide secreted by cells and a major component of cerebral Abeta deposits, is less clear. In this study, virally-mediated gene transfer was used to selectively increase hippocampal levels of human Abeta42 and Abeta40 in adult Wistar rats, allowing examination of the contribution of each to the cognitive deficits and pathology seen in AD. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors encoding BRI-Abeta cDNAs were generated resulting in high-level hippocampal expression and secretion of the specific encoded Abeta peptide. As a comparison the effect of AAV-mediated overexpression of APPsw was also examined. Animals were tested for development of learning and memory deficits (open field, Morris water maze, passive avoidance, novel object recognition) three months after infusion of AAV. A range of impairments was found, with the most pronounced deficits observed in animals co-injected with both AAV-BRI-Abeta40 and AAV-BRI-Abeta42. Brain tissue was analyzed by ELISA and immunohistochemistry to quantify levels of detergent soluble and insoluble Abeta peptides. BRI-Abeta42 and the combination of BRI-Abeta40+42 overexpression resulted in elevated levels of detergent-insoluble Abeta. No significant increase in detergent-insoluble Abeta was seen in the rats expressing APPsw or BRI-Abeta40. No pathological features were noted in any rats, except the AAV-BRI-Abeta42 rats which showed focal, amorphous, Thioflavin-negative Abeta42 deposits. The results show that AAV-mediated gene transfer is a valuable tool to model aspects of AD pathology in vivo, and demonstrate that whilst expression of Abeta42 alone is sufficient to initiate Abeta deposition, both Abeta40 and Abeta42 may contribute to cognitive deficits.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 02/2007; 2(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1750-1326-2-11 · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have established a pivotal role for Abeta42 in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. In contrast, although Abeta40 is the predominant form of amyloid beta (Abeta) produced and accumulates to a variable degree in the human AD brain, its role in AD pathogenesis has not been established. It has generally been assumed that an increase in Abeta40 would accelerate amyloid plaque formation in vivo. We have crossed BRI-Abeta40 mice that selectively express high levels of Abeta40 with both Tg2576 (APPswe, K670N+M671L) mice and BRI-Abeta42A mice expressing Abeta42 selectively and analyzed parenchymal and cerebrovascular Abeta deposition in the bitransgenic mice compared with their singly transgenic littermates. In the bitransgenic mice, the increased steady-state levels of Abeta40 decreased Abeta deposition by 60-90%. These results demonstrate that Abeta42 and Abeta40 have opposing effects on amyloid deposition: Abeta42 promotes amyloid deposition but Abeta40 inhibits it. In addition, increasing Abeta40 levels protected BRI-Abeta40/Tg2576 mice from the premature-death phenotype observed in Tg2576 mice. The protective properties of Abeta40 with respect to amyloid deposition suggest that strategies that preferentially target Abeta40 may actually worsen the disease course and that selective increases in Abeta40 levels may actually reduce the risk for development of AD.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 02/2007; 27(3):627-33. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4849-06.2007 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of hypotheses regarding how anti-Abeta antibodies alter amyloid deposition have been postulated, yet there is no consensus as to how Abeta immunotherapy works. We have examined the in vivo binding properties, pharmacokinetics, brain penetrance, and alterations in Abeta levels after a single peripheral dose of anti-Abeta antibodies to both wild-type (WT) and young non-Abeta depositing APP and BRI-Abeta42 mice. The rapid rise in plasma Abeta observed after antibody (Ab) administration is attributable to prolongation of the half-life of Abeta bound to the Ab. Only a miniscule fraction of Ab enters the brain, and despite dramatic increases in plasma Abeta, we find no evidence that total brain Abeta levels are significantly altered. Surprisingly, cerebral spinal fluid Abeta levels transiently rise, and when Ab:Abeta complex is directly injected into the lateral ventricles of mice, it is rapidly cleared from the brain into the plasma where it remains stable. When viewed in context of daily turnover of Abeta, these data provide a framework to evaluate proposed mechanisms of Abeta attenuation mediated by peripheral administration of an anti-Abeta monoclonal antibody (mAb) effective in passive immunization paradigm. Such quantitative data suggest that the mAbs are either indirectly enhancing clearance of Abeta or targeting a low abundance aggregation intermediate.
    The FASEB Journal 01/2007; 20(14):2576-8. DOI:10.1096/fj.06-6463fje · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulation of amyloid beta protein (Abeta) aggregates is hypothesized to trigger a pathological cascade that causes Alzheimer's disease (AD). Active or passive immunizations targeting Abeta are therefore of great interest as potential therapeutic strategies. We have evaluated the use of recombinant anti-Abeta single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) as a potentially safer form of anti-Abeta immunotherapy. We have generated and characterized three anti-Abeta scFvs that recognize Abeta 1-16, Abeta x-40, or Abeta x-42. To achieve widespread brain delivery, constructs expressing these anti-Abeta scFvs were packaged into adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and injected into the ventricles of postnatal day 0 (P0) amyloid precursor protein CRND8-transgenic mice. Intracranial delivery of AAV to neonatal mice resulted in widespread neuronal delivery. In situ expression of each of the anti-Abeta scFvs after intracerebroventricular AAV serotype 1 delivery to P0 pups decreased Abeta deposition by 25-50%. These data suggest that intracranial anti-Abeta scFv expression is an effective strategy to attenuate amyloid deposition. As opposed to transgenic approaches, these studies also establish a "somatic brain transgenic" paradigm to rapidly and cost-effectively evaluate potential modifiers of AD-like pathology in AD mouse models.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 12/2006; 26(46):11923-8. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2795-06.2006 · 6.34 Impact Factor
  • Conference Paper: P1-113

    Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT; 07/2006
  • Article: P1-005

  • Article: P4-291
    Yona Levites · Pritam Das · Lisa A. Smithson · Todd E. Golde ·

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    ABSTRACT: Microglial activation has been proposed to facilitate clearance of amyloid beta protein (Abeta) from the brain following Abeta immunotherapy in amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice. Interleukin-1 receptor 1 knockout (IL-1 R1-/-) mice are reported to exhibit blunted inflammatory responses to injury. To further define the role of IL-1-mediated inflammatory responses and microglial activation in this paradigm, we examined the efficacy of passive Abeta immunotherapy in Tg2576 mice crossed into the IL-1 R1-/- background. In addition, we examined if loss of IL-1 R1-/- modifies Abeta deposition in the absence of additional manipulations. We passively immunized Tg2576 mice crossed into the IL-1 R1-/- background (APP/IL-1 R1-/- mice) with an anti-Abeta1-16 mAb (mAb9, IgG2a) that we previously showed could attenuate Abeta deposition in Tg2576 mice. We also examined whether the IL-1 R1 knockout background modifies Abeta deposition in untreated mice. Biochemical and immunohistochemical Abeta loads and microglial activation was assessed. Passive immunization with anti-Abeta mAb was effective in reducing plaque load in APP/IL-1 R1-/- mice when the immunization was started prior to significant plaque deposition. Similar to previous studies, immunization was not effective in older APP/IL-1 R1-/- mice or IL-1 R1 sufficient wild type Tg2576 mice. Our analysis of Abeta deposition in the untreated APP/IL-1 R1-/- mice did not show differences on biochemical Abeta loads during normal aging of these mice compared to IL-1 R1 sufficient wild type Tg2576 mice. We find no evidence that the lack of the IL-1 R1 receptor influences either Abeta deposition or the efficacy of passive immunotherapy. Such results are consistent with other studies in Tg2576 mice that suggest microglial activation may not be required for efficacy in passive immunization approaches.
    Journal of Neuroinflammation 02/2006; 3(1):17. DOI:10.1186/1742-2094-3-17 · 5.41 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

552 Citations
116.04 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • McKnight Brain Institute
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Florida
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • 2008
    • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      • Department of Neuroscience
      Рочестер, Michigan, United States
  • 2006-2008
    • Mayo Clinic
      Jacksonville, Florida, United States
  • 2007
    • Arizona State University
      • Department of Chemical Engineering
      Phoenix, Arizona, United States