Author(s): Fortress AM, Buhusi M, Helke KL, Granholm AC
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Abstract Learning and memory impairments occurring with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are associated with degeneration of the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs). BFCNs extend their axons to the hippocampus where they bind nerve growth factor (NGF) which is retrogradely transported to the cell body. While NGF is necessary for BFCN survival and function via binding to the high-affinity receptor TrkA, its uncleaved precursor, pro-NGF has been proposed to induce neurodegeneration via binding to the p75NTR and its coreceptor sortilin. Basal forebrain TrkA and NGF are downregulated with aging while pro-NGF is increased. Given these data, the focus of this paper was to determine a mechanism for how pro-NGF accumulation may induce BFCN degeneration. Twenty-four hours after a single injection of pro-NGF into hippocampus, we found increased hippocampal p75NTR levels, decreased hippocampal TrkA levels, and cholinergic degeneration. The data suggest that the increase in p75NTR with AD may be mediated by elevated pro-NGF levels as a result of decreased cleavage, and that pro-NGF may be partially responsible for age-related degenerative changes observed in the basal forebrain. This paper is the first in vivo evidence that pro-NGF can affect BFCNs and may do so by regulating expression of p75NTR neurotrophin receptors.
This article was published in J Aging Res
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism