Li Wang

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, United States

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Publications (11)37.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Caffeine and melatonin have been shown to protect the Swedish mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP(sw)) transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease from cognitive dysfunction. But their mechanisms of action remain incompletely understood. These Alzheimer's mice have extensive mitochondrial dysfunction, which likely contributes to their cognitive decline. To further explore the mechanism through which caffeine and melatonin protect cognitive function in these mice, we monitored the function of isolated mitochondria from APP(sw) mice treated with caffeine, melatonin, or both in their drinking water for one month. Melatonin treatment yielded a near complete restoration of mitochondrial function in assays of respiratory rate, membrane potential, reactive oxygen species production, and ATP levels. Caffeine treatment by itself yielded a small increase in mitochondrial function. However, caffeine largely blocked the large enhancement of mitochondrial function provided by melatonin. Studies with N2a neuroblastoma cells stably expressing APP(sw) showed that specific inhibition of cAMP-dependent phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4 or cGMP-dependent PDE5 also blocked melatonin protection of mitochondrial function, but A(2a) and A(1) adenosine receptor antagonists were without effect. Melatonin or caffeine at the concentrations used to modulate mitochondrial function in the cells had no effect on cAMP-dependent PDE activity or cellular cAMP or cGMP levels. Therefore, caffeine and increased cyclic nucleotide levels likely block melatonin signaling to mitochondria by independent mechanisms that do not involve adenosine receptor antagonism. The results of this study indicate that melatonin restores mitochondrial function much more potently than caffeine in APP(sw) transgenic mouse and cell models of Alzheimer's disease.
    Neuropharmacology 09/2012; 63(8):1368-79. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although both human epidemiologic and animal model studies have suggested that caffeine/coffee protects against Alzheimer's disease, direct human evidence for this premise has been lacking. In the present case-control study, two separate cohorts consisting of 124 total individuals (65-88 years old) were cognitively assessed and a blood sample taken for caffeine/biomarker analysis. Subjects were then monitored for cognitive status over the ensuing 2-4 year period to determine the extent to which initial plasma caffeine/biomarkers levels would be predictive of changes in cognitive status. Plasma caffeine levels at study onset were substantially lower (-51%) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects who later progressed to dementia (MCI→DEM) compared to levels in stable MCI subjects (MCI→MCI). Moreover, none of the MCI→DEM subjects had initial blood caffeine levels that were above a critical level of 1200 ng/ml, while half of stable MCI→MCI subjects had blood caffeine levels higher than that critical level. Thus, plasma caffeine levels greater than 1200 ng/ml (≈6 μM) in MCI subjects were associated with no conversion to dementia during the ensuing 2-4 year follow-up period. Among the 11 cytokines measured in plasma, three of them (GCSF, IL-10, and IL-6) were decreased in MCI→DEM subjects, but not in stable MCI→MCI subjects with high plasma caffeine levels. Coffee would appear to be the major or perhaps only source of caffeine for such stable MCI patients. This case-control study provides the first direct evidence that caffeine/coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk of dementia or delayed onset, particularly for those who already have MCI.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 03/2012; 30(3):559-72. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, our lab was the first to report the use of antigen-sensitized dendritic cells as a vaccine against Alzheimer's disease (AD). In preparation of this vaccine, we sensitized the isolated dendritic cells ex vivo with Aβ peptide, and administered these sensitized dendritic cells as a therapeutic agent. This form of cell therapy has had success in preventing and/or slowing the rate of cognitive decline when administered prior to the appearance of Aβ plaques in PDAPP mice, but has not been tested in 2×Tg models. Herein, we test the efficacy and safety of this vaccine in halting and reversing Alzheimer's pathology in 9-month-old APP+PS1 mice. The results showed that administration of this vaccine elicits a long-lasting antibody titer, which correlated well with a reduction of Aβ burden upon histological analysis. Cognitive function in transgenic responders to the vaccine was rescued to levels similar to those found in non-transgenic mice, indicating that the vaccine is capable of providing therapeutic benefit in APP+PS1 mice when administered after the onset of AD pathology. The vaccine also shows indications of circumventing past safety problems observed in AD immunotherapy, as Th1 pro-inflammatory cytokines were not elevated after long-term vaccine administration. Moreover, microhemorrhaging and T-cell infiltration into the brain are not observed in any of the treated subjects. All in all, this vaccine has many advantages over contemporary vaccines against Alzheimer's disease, and may lead to a viable treatment for the disease in the future.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e49468. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retrospective and prospective epidemiologic studies suggest that enhanced coffee/caffeine intake during aging reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Underscoring this premise, our studies in AD transgenic mice show that long-term caffeine administration protects against cognitive impairment and reduces brain amyloid-β levels/deposition through suppression of both β- and γ-secretase. Because coffee contains many constituents in addition to caffeine that may provide cognitive benefits against AD, we examined effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on plasma cytokines, comparing their effects to caffeine alone. In both AβPPsw+PS1 transgenic mice and non-transgenic littermates, acute i.p. treatment with caffeinated coffee greatly and specifically increased plasma levels of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (GCSF), IL-10, and IL-6. Neither caffeine solution alone (which provided high plasma caffeine levels) or decaffeinated coffee provided this effect, indicating that caffeine synergized with some as yet unidentified component of coffee to selectively elevate these three plasma cytokines. The increase in GCSF is particularly important because long-term treatment with coffee (but not decaffeinated coffee) enhanced working memory in a fashion that was associated only with increased plasma GCSF levels among all cytokines. Since we have previously reported that long-term GCSF treatment enhances cognitive performance in AD mice through three possible mechanisms (e.g., recruitment of microglia from bone marrow, synaptogenesis, and neurogenesis), the same mechanisms could be complimentary to caffeine's established ability to suppress Aβ production. We conclude that coffee may be the best source of caffeine to protect against AD because of a component in coffee that synergizes with caffeine to enhance plasma GCSF levels, resulting in multiple therapeutic actions against AD.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 03/2011; 25(2):323-35. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects millions of people world-wide and new effective and safe therapies are needed. Cotinine, the main metabolite of nicotine, has a long half-life and does not have cardiovascular or addictive side effects in humans. We studied the effect of cotinine on amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation as well as addressed its impact on working and reference memories. Cotinine reduced Aβ deposition, improved working and reference memories, and inhibited Aβ oligomerization in the brains of transgenic (Tg) 6799 AD mice. In vitro studies confirmed the inhibitory effect of cotinine on Aβ1-42 aggregation. Cotinine stimulated Akt signaling, including the inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), which promotes neuronal survival and the synaptic plasticity processes underlying learning and memory in the hippocampus and cortex of wild type and Tg6799 AD mice. Simulation of the cotinine-Aβ1-42 complex using molecular dynamics showed that cotinine may interact with key histidine residues of Aβ1-42, altering its structure and inhibiting its aggregation. The good safety profile in humans and its beneficial effects suggest that cotinine may be an excellent therapeutic candidate for the treatment of AD.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 02/2011; 24(4):817-35. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of mutations in GATA4 and NKX2.5 have been identified to be causative for a subset of familial congenital heart defects (CHDs) and a small number of sporadic CHDs. In this study, we evaluated common GATA4 and NKX2.5 mutations in 135 Chinese pediatric patients with non-familial congenital heart defects. Two novel mutations in the coding region of GATA4 were identified, namely, 487C >T (Pro163Ser) in exon 1 in a child with tetralogy of Fallot and 1220C >A (Pro407Gln) in exon 6 in a pediatric patient with outlet membranous ventricular septal defect. We also found 848C >A (Pro283Gln) in exon 2 of the NKX2.5 gene in a pediatric patient with ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus and aortic isthmus stenosis. None of the mutations was detected in healthy control subjects (n = 114). This study suggests that GATA4 and NKX2.5 missense mutations may be associated with congenital heart defects in pediatric Chinese patients. Further clinical studies with large samples are warranted.
    Genetica 12/2010; 138(11-12):1231-40. · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite numerous studies, there is no definitive evidence that high-frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure is a risk to human health. To the contrary, this report presents the first evidence that long-term EMF exposure directly associated with cell phone use (918 MHz; 0.25 w/kg) provides cognitive benefits. Both cognitive-protective and cognitive-enhancing effects of EMF exposure were discovered for both normal mice and transgenic mice destined to develop Alzheimer's-like cognitive impairment. The cognitive interference task utilized in this study was designed from, and measure-for-measure analogous to, a human cognitive interference task. In Alzheimer's disease mice, long-term EMF exposure reduced brain amyloid-beta (Abeta) deposition through Abeta anti-aggregation actions and increased brain temperature during exposure periods. Several inter-related mechanisms of EMF action are proposed, including increased Abeta clearance from the brains of Alzheimer's disease mice, increased neuronal activity, and increased cerebral blood flow. Although caution should be taken in extrapolating these mouse studies to humans, we conclude that EMF exposure may represent a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic therapeutic against Alzheimer's disease and an effective memory-enhancing approach in general.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 01/2010; 19(1):191-210. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent epidemiologic studies suggest that caffeine may be protective against Alzheimer's disease (AD). Supportive of this premise, our previous studies have shown that moderate caffeine administration protects/restores cognitive function and suppresses brain amyloid-beta (Abeta) production in AD transgenic mice. In the present study, we report that acute caffeine administration to both young adult and aged AD transgenic mice rapidly reduces Abeta levels in both brain interstitial fluid and plasma without affecting Abeta elimination. Long-term oral caffeine treatment to aged AD mice provided not only sustained reductions in plasma Abeta, but also decreases in both soluble and deposited Abeta in hippocampus and cortex. Irrespective of caffeine treatment, plasma Abeta levels did not correlate with brain Abeta levels or with cognitive performance in individual aged AD mice. Although higher plasma caffeine levels were strongly associated with lower plasma Abeta1-40 levels in aged AD mice, plasma caffeine levels were also not linked to cognitive performance. Plasma caffeine and theophylline levels were tightly correlated, both being associated with reduced inflammatory cytokine levels in hippocampus. Our conclusion is two-fold: first, that both plasma and brain Abeta levels are reduced by acute or chronic caffeine administration in several AD transgenic lines and ages, indicating a therapeutic value of caffeine against AD; and second, that plasma Abeta levels are not an accurate index of brain Abeta levels/deposition or cognitive performance in aged AD mice.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2009; 17(3):681-97. · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neurohormone melatonin has been reported to exert anti-beta-amyloid aggregation, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory actions in various in vitro and animal models. To comprehensively determine the potential for long-term melatonin treatment to protect Alzheimer's transgenic mice against cognitive impairment and development of beta-amyloid (Abeta) neuropathology, we administered melatonin (100 mg/L drinking water) to APP + PS1 double transgenic (Tg) mice from 2-2.5 months of age to their killing at age 7.5 months. A comprehensive behavioral battery administered during the final 6 weeks of treatment revealed that Tg mice given melatonin were protected from cognitive impairment in a variety of tasks of working memory, spatial reference learning/memory, and basic mnemonic function; Tg control mice remained impaired in all of these cognitive tasks/domains. Immunoreactive Abeta deposition was significantly reduced in hippocampus (43%) and entorhinal cortex (37%) of melatonin-treated Tg mice. Although soluble and oligomeric forms of Abeta1-40 and 1-42 were unchanged in the hippocampus and cortex of the same melatonin-treated Tg mice, their plasma Abeta levels were elevated. These Abeta results, together with our concurrent demonstration that melatonin suppresses Abeta aggregation in brain homogenates, are consistent with a melatonin-facilitated removal of Abeta from the brain. Inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha were decreased in hippocampus (but not plasma) of Tg+ melatonin mice. Finally, the cortical mRNA expression of three antioxidant enzymes (SOD-1, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase) was significantly reduced to non-Tg levels by long-term melatonin treatment in Tg mice. Thus, melatonin's cognitive benefits could involve its anti-Abeta aggregation, anti-inflammatory, and/or antioxidant properties. Our findings provide support for long-term melatonin therapy as a primary or complementary strategy for abating the progression of Alzheimer disease.
    Journal of Pineal Research 07/2009; 47(1):82-96. · 7.30 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2008; 4(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2008; 4(4).

Publication Stats

206 Citations
37.50 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2012
    • University of South Florida
      • Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology
      Tampa, Florida, United States
    • USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute
      Tampa, Florida, United States
  • 2011
    • VHA National Center for Organization Development (NCOD)
      Cincinnati, Ohio, United States