Andrea A Cronican

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

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Publications (10)88.84 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Early growth response gene 1 (Egr1) is a member of the immediate early gene (IEG) family of transcription factors and plays a role in memory formation. To identify EGR1 target genes in brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD) model mice - APP23, we applied chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq). Functional annotation of genes associated with EGR1 binding revealed a set of related networks including synaptic vesicle transport, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME), intracellular membrane fusion and transmission of signals elicited by Ca(2+) influx. EGR1 binding is associated with significant enrichment of activating chromatin marks and appears enriched near genes that are up-regulated in the brains of APP23 mice. Among the putative EGR1 targets identified and validated in this study are genes related to synaptic plasticity and transport of proteins, such as Arc, Grin1, Syn2, Vamp2 and Stx6, and genes implicated in AD such as Picalm, Psen2 and App. We also demonstrate a potential regulatory link between EGR1 and its newly identified targets in vivo, since conditions that up-regulate Egr1 levels in brain, such as a spatial memory test, also lead to increased expression of the targets. On the other hand, protein levels of EGR1 and ARC, SYN2, STX6 and PICALM are significantly lower in the brain of adult APP mice than in age-matched wild type animals. The results of this study suggest that EGR1 regulates the expression of genes involved in CME, vesicular transport and synaptic transmission that may be critical for AD pathogenesis.
    Neurobiology of Disease 11/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) demonstrated in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease (AD) that treatment of APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with bexarotene decreased Aβ pathology and ameliorated memory deficits. We confirm the reversal of memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice expressing human APOE3 or APOE4 to the levels of their nontransgenic controls and the significant decrease of interstitial fluid Aβ, but not the effects on amyloid deposition.
    Science 05/2013; 340(6135):924. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic exposure to arsenic in drinking water, especially in utero or perinatal exposure, can initiate neurological and cognitive dysfunction, as well as memory impairment. Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated cognitive and learning deficits in children with early exposure to low to moderate levels of arsenic, but pathogenic mechanisms or etiology for these deficits are poorly understood. Since in vivo studies show a role for histone acetylation in cognitive performance and memory formation, we examined if prenatal exposure to arsenic causes changes in the epigenomic landscape. We exposed C57Bl6/J mice to 100 μg/L arsenic in the drinking water starting 1 week before conception till birth and applied chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput massive parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) to evaluate H3K9 acetylation pattern in the offspring of exposed and control mice. Arsenic exposure during embryonic life caused global hypo-acetylation at H3K9 and changes in functional annotation with highly significant representation of Krüppel associated box (KRAB) transcription factors in brain samples from exposed pups. We also found that arsenic exposure of adult mice impaired spatial and episodic memory, as well as fear conditioning performance. This is the first study to demonstrate: a) genome wide changes in H3K9 acetylation pattern in an offspring prenatally exposed to arsenic, and b) a connection between moderate arsenic exposure and cognitive impairment in adult mice. The results also emphasize the applicability of Next Generation Sequencing methodology in studies aiming to reveal the role of environmental factors, other than dietary restriction, in developmental reprogramming through histone modifications during embryonic development.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e53478. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) transporter regulates cholesterol efflux and is an essential mediator of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) formation. In amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice, Abca1 deficiency increased amyloid deposition in the brain paralleled by decreased levels of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE). The APOEε4 allele is the major genetic risk factor of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we reveal the effect of Abca1 deficiency on phenotype in mice expressing human ApoE3 or ApoE4. We used APP/E3 and APP/E4 mice generated by crossing APP/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mice to human APOE3- and APOE4-targeted replacement mice and examined Abca1 gene dose effect on amyloid deposition and cognition. The results from two behavior tests demonstrate that lack of one copy of Abca1 significantly exacerbates memory deficits in APP/E4/Abca1(-/+) but not in APP/E3/Abca1(-/+) mice. The data for amyloid plaques and insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ) also show that Abca1 hemizygosity increases Aβ deposition only in APP/E4/Abca1(-/+) but not in APP/E3/Abca1(-/+) mice. Our in vivo microdialysis assays indicate that Abca1 deficiency significantly decreases Aβ clearance in ApoE4-expressing mice, while the effect of Abca1 on Aβ clearance in ApoE3-expressing mice was insignificant. In addition, we demonstrate that plasma HDL and Aβ42 levels in APP/E4/Abca1(-/+) mice are significantly decreased, and there is a negative correlation between plasma HDL and amyloid plaques in brain, suggesting that plasma lipoproteins may be involved in Aβ clearance. Overall, our results prove that the presence of functional Abca1 significantly influences the phenotype of APP mice expressing human ApoE4 and further substantiate therapeutic approaches in AD based on ABCA1-APOE regulatory axis.
    Journal of Neuroscience 09/2012; 32(38):13125-36. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD) is the deposition of amyloid β (Aβ) in brain parenchyma and cerebral blood vessels, accompanied by cognitive decline. Previously, we showed that human apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) decreases Aβ(40) aggregation and toxicity. Here we demonstrate that apoA-I in lipidated or non-lipidated form prevents the formation of high molecular weight aggregates of Aβ(42) and decreases Aβ(42) toxicity in primary brain cells. To determine the effects of apoA-I on AD phenotype in vivo, we crossed APP/PS1ΔE9 to apoA-I(KO) mice. Using a Morris water maze, we demonstrate that the deletion of mouse Apoa-I exacerbates memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice. Further characterization of APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-I(KO) mice showed that apoA-I deficiency did not affect amyloid precursor protein processing, soluble Aβ oligomer levels, Aβ plaque load, or levels of insoluble Aβ in brain parenchyma. To examine the effect of Apoa-I deletion on cerebral amyloid angiopathy, we measured insoluble Aβ isolated from cerebral blood vessels. Our data show that in APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-I(KO) mice, insoluble Aβ(40) is increased more than 10-fold, and Aβ(42) is increased 1.5-fold. The increased levels of deposited amyloid in the vessels of cortices and hippocampi of APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-I(KO) mice, measured by X-34 staining, confirmed the results. Finally, we demonstrate that lipidated and non-lipidated apoA-I significantly decreased Aβ toxicity against brain vascular smooth muscle cells. We conclude that lack of apoA-I aggravates the memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice in parallel to significantly increased cerebral amyloid angiopathy.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2010; 285(47):36945-57. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD) is the deposition of amyloid β (Aβ) in brain parenchyma and cerebral blood vessels, accompanied by cognitive decline. Previously, we showed that human apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) decreases Aβ40 aggregation and toxicity. Here we demonstrate that apoA-I in lipidated or non-lipidated form prevents the formation of high molecular weight aggregates of Aβ42 and decreases Aβ42 toxicity in primary brain cells. To determine the effects of apoA-I on AD phenotype in vivo, we crossed APP/PS1ΔE9 to apoA-IKO mice. Using a Morris water maze, we demonstrate that the deletion of mouse Apoa-I exacerbates memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice. Further characterization of APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-IKO mice showed that apoA-I deficiency did not affect amyloid precursor protein processing, soluble Aβ oligomer levels, Aβ plaque load, or levels of insoluble Aβ in brain parenchyma. To examine the effect of Apoa-I deletion on cerebral amyloid angiopathy, we measured insoluble Aβ isolated from cerebral blood vessels. Our data show that in APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-IKO mice, insoluble Aβ40 is increased more than 10-fold, and Aβ42 is increased 1.5-fold. The increased levels of deposited amyloid in the vessels of cortices and hippocampi of APP/PS1ΔE9/apoA-IKO mice, measured by X-34 staining, confirmed the results. Finally, we demonstrate that lipidated and non-lipidated apoA-I significantly decreased Aβ toxicity against brain vascular smooth muscle cells. We conclude that lack of apoA-I aggravates the memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice in parallel to significantly increased cerebral amyloid angiopathy.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2010; 285(47):36945-36957. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-fat diet and certain dietary patterns are associated with higher incidence of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cognitive decline. However, no specific therapy has been suggested to ameliorate the negative effects of high fat/high cholesterol levels on cognition and amyloid pathology. Here we show that in 9-month-old APP23 mice, a high-fat/high-cholesterol (HF) diet provided for 4 months exacerbates the AD phenotype evaluated by behavioral, morphological, and biochemical assays. To examine the therapeutic potential of liver X receptor (LXR) ligands, APP23 mice were fed HF diet supplemented with synthetic LXR agonist T0901317 (T0). Our results demonstrate that LXR ligand treatment causes a significant reduction of memory deficits observed during both acquisition and retention phases of the Morris water maze. Moreover, the effects of T0 on cognition correlate with AD-like morphological and biochemical parameters. We found a significant decrease in amyloid plaque load, insoluble Abeta and soluble Abeta oligomers. In vitro experiments with primary glia demonstrate that Abca1 is essential for the proper lipidation of ApoE and mediates the effects of T0 on Abeta degradation by microglia. Microdialysis experiments performed on awake freely moving mice showed that T0 decreased Abeta levels in the interstitial fluid of the hippocampus, supporting the conclusion that this treatment increases Abeta clearance. The data presented conclusively shows that LXR activation in the context of a metabolic challenge has critical effects on AD phenotype progression by attenuating Abeta deposition and facilitating its clearance.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2010; 30(20):6862-72. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The liver X receptors (LXRalpha and LXRbeta) are transcription factors that control the expression of genes primarily involved in cholesterol metabolism. In the brain, in addition to normal neuronal function, cholesterol metabolism is important for APP proteolytic cleavage, secretase activities, Abeta aggregation and clearance. Particularly significant in this respect is LXR mediated transcriptional control of APOE, which is the only proven risk factor for late onset Alzheimer's disease. Using a transactivation reporter assay for screening pharmacologically active compounds and off patent drugs we identified the proton pump inhibitor Lansoprazole as an LXR agonist. In secondary screens and counter-screening assays, it was confirmed that Lansoprazole directly activates LXR, increases the expression of LXR target genes in brain-derived human cell lines, and increases Abca1 and Apo-E protein levels in primary astrocytes derived from wild type but not LXRalpha/beta double knockout mice. Other PPIs activate LXR as well, but the efficiency of activation depends on their structural similarities to Lansoprazole. The identification of a widely used drug with LXR agonist-like activity opens the possibility for systematic preclinical testing in at least two diseases--Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis.
    Biochemical pharmacology 05/2010; 79(9):1310-6. · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2009; 5(4). · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABCA1, a member of the ATP-binding cassette family of transporters, lipidates ApoE (apolipoprotein A) and is essential for the generation of HDL (high-density lipoprotein)-like particles in the CNS (central nervous system). Lack of Abca1 increases amyloid deposition in several AD (Alzheimer's disease) mouse models. We hypothesized that deletion of only one copy of Abca1 in APP23 (where APP is amyloid precursor protein) AD model mice will aggravate memory deficits in these mice. Using the Morris Water Maze, we demonstrate that 2-year-old Abca1 heterozygous APP23 mice (referred to as APP23/het) have impaired learning during acquisition, and impaired memory retention during the probe trial when compared with age-matched wild-type mice (referred to as APP23/wt). As in our previous studies, the levels of ApoE in APP23/het mice were decreased, but the differences in the levels of Aβ and thioflavin-S-positive plaques between both groups were insignificant. Importantly, dot blot analysis demonstrated that APP23/het mice have a significantly higher level of soluble A11-positive Aβ (amyloid β protein) oligomers compared with APP23/wt which correlated negatively with cognitive performance. To confirm this finding, we performed immunohistochemistry with the A11 antibody, which revealed a significant increase of A11-positive oligomer structures in the CA1 region of hippocampi of APP23/het. This characteristic region-specific pattern of A11 staining was age-dependent and was missing in younger APP23 mice lacking Abca1. In contrast, the levels of Aβ*56, as well as other low-molecular-mass Aβ oligomers, were unchanged among the groups. Overall, the results of the present study demonstrate that in aged APP23 mice memory deficits depend on Abca1 and are likely to be mediated by the amount of Aβ oligomers deposited in the hippocampus.
    ASN Neuro 02/2009; 1(2). · 3.64 Impact Factor