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Identification Of Neurotoxic Cytokines by Profiling Alzheimer's Disease Tissues and Neuron Culture Viability Screening

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Harvard Medical School Boston United States

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Alzheimers disease AD therapeutics based on the amyloid hypothesis have shown minimal efficacy in patients, suggesting that the activity of amyloid beta A represents only one aspect of AD pathogenesis. Since neuroinflammation is thought to play an important role in AD, we hypothesized that cytokines may play a direct role in promoting neuronal death. Here, we profiled cytokine expression in a small cohort of human AD and control brain tissues. We identified AD-associated cytokines using partial least squares regression to correlate cytokine expression with quantified pathologic disease state and then used neuron cultures to test whether cytokines up-regulated in AD tissues could affect neuronal viability. This analysis identified cytokines that were associated with the pathological severity. Of the top correlates, only TNF- reduced viability in neuron culture when applied alone. VEGF also reduced viability when applied together with A, which was surprising because VEGF has been viewed as a neuro-protective protein. We found that this synthetic pro-death effect of VEGF in the context of A was commensurate with VEGFR-dependent changes in multiple signaling pathways that govern cell fate. Our findings suggest that profiling of tissues combined with a culture-based screening approach can successfully identify new mechanisms driving neuronal death.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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