[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been linked recently to non-fibrillar forms of neurotoxic amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomers of which high levels are observed in the brain of AD patients. This suggests that Abeta oligomers play a key role in the early events of AD, underlining their potential for the early diagnosis of the disease. We have developed an extremely sensitive assay for the detection of oligomeric and fibrillar structures of Abeta that is based on multiparametric analysis of data obtained by flow cytometry and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (Fret). The assay readily detects Abeta oligomers in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as verified by dot blot of the isolated particles. By measuring 174 CSF samples of non-demented control patients with various neurological disorders a high reliability and reproducibility of the method could be demonstrated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oligomerization of amyloid beta (Abeta) peptides is the decisive event in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common neurogenerative disorder in developed countries. Recent evidence links this conformation-driven process to primary- and secondary-structure modifications of Abeta. The N and C terminus of deposited Abeta has been shown to possess conspicuous heterogeneity. While the C-terminally longer form of Abeta, i.e., Abeta (42), is considered more amyloidogenic, the role of the N-terminal modifications, e.g., truncation and glutamate cyclization accounting for the majority of the deposited peptides, is less understood. In the present study, we characterized the oligomerization and seeding capacity of pGlu-amyloid peptides using two unrelated techniques based on flow cytometry or flourescence dye binding. Under different conditions and irrespective of the C terminus of Abeta, i.e., Abeta40 or 42, pGlu-modified peptides displayed an up to 250-fold accelerated initial formation of aggregates compared to unmodified Abeta. The accelerated seed formation is accompanied by a change in the oligomerization kinetics because of N-terminal pGlu formation. Furthermore, the formation of mixed aggregates consisting of either pGlu-Abeta (3-42) or ADan or ABri and Abeta (1-42) was investigated by Abeta fluorescence labeling in flow cytometry. The results suggest that pGlu-modified peptides are potential seeding species of aggregate formation in vivo. The data presented here and the abundance of pGlu peptides in amyloidoses, such as FBD and AD, suggest pGlu-amyloid peptides as a species with biophysical characteristics that might be in particular crucial for the initiation of the disease.