Alzheimer's Amyloid-β is an Antimicrobial Peptide: A Review of the Evidence
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Citation:Gosztyla ML, Brothers HM, Robinson SR. Alzheimer's Amyloid-β is an Antimicrobial Peptide: A Review of the Evidence. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 62(4), 1495-1506. doi: 10.3233/JAD-171133
The amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide has long been considered to be the driving force behind Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, clinical trials that have successfully reduced Aβ burden in the brain have not slowed the cognitive decline, and in some instances, have resulted in adverse outcomes. While these results can be interpreted in different ways, a more nuanced picture of Aβ is emerging that takes into account the facts that the peptide is evolutionarily conserved and is present throughout life in cognitively normal individuals. Recent evidence indicates a role for Aβ as an antimicrobial peptide (AMP), a class of innate immune defense molecule that utilizes fibrillation to protect the host from a wide range of infectious agents. In humans and in animal models, infection of the brain frequently leads to increased amyloidogenic processing of the amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) and resultant fibrillary aggregates of Aβ. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrates that Aβ oligomers have potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties by forming fibrils that entrap pathogens and disrupt cell membranes. Importantly, overexpression of Aβ confers increased resistance to infection from both bacteria and viruses. The antimicrobial role of Aβ may explain why increased rates of infection have been observed in some of the AD clinical trials that depleted Aβ. Perhaps progress toward a cure for AD will accelerate once treatment strategies begin to take into account the likely physiological functions of this enigmatic peptide.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-171133.
The Ohio State University
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