Enhanced proteolysis of beta-amyloid in APP transgenic mice prevents plaque formation, secondary pathology, and premature death

Neuron. 2003 Dec 18;40(6):1087-93. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00787-6.


Converging evidence suggests that the accumulation of cerebral amyloid beta-protein (Abeta) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) reflects an imbalance between the production and degradation of this self-aggregating peptide. Upregulation of proteases that degrade Abeta thus represents a novel therapeutic approach to lowering steady-state Abeta levels, but the consequences of sustained upregulation in vivo have not been studied. Here we show that transgenic overexpression of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) or neprilysin (NEP) in neurons significantly reduces brain Abeta levels, retards or completely prevents amyloid plaque formation and its associated cytopathology, and rescues the premature lethality present in amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice. Our findings demonstrate that chronic upregulation of Abeta-degrading proteases represents an efficacious therapeutic approach to combating Alzheimer-type pathology in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulysin / biosynthesis
  • Insulysin / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neprilysin / biosynthesis
  • Neprilysin / genetics
  • Peptide Hydrolases / biosynthesis*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / genetics
  • Plaque, Amyloid / genetics
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Survival Rate
  • Up-Regulation / physiology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Neprilysin
  • Insulysin