Small heat shock proteins inhibit amyloid-beta protein aggregation and cerebrovascular amyloid-beta protein toxicity

Brain Res. 2006 May 17;1089(1):67-78. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.03.058. Epub 2006 Apr 24.


Small heat shock proteins Hsp20 and HspB2/B3 co-localize with Abeta deposition in senile plaques and cerebral amyloid angiopathy in Alzheimer's disease brains, respectively. It was the aim of our study to investigate if these and other sHsps bind to wild-type Abeta1-42 or the more toxic Abeta1-40 carrying the 'Dutch' mutation (22Glu-->Gln) (D-Abeta1-40), affect Abeta aggregation and thereby influence Abeta cytotoxicity. Binding affinity between sHsps and Abeta was investigated by surface plasmon resonance. Abeta aggregation was studied by using circular dichroism spectroscopy and electron microscopy. Furthermore, we used cultured cerebrovascular cells to investigate the effects of sHsps on Abeta-mediated cytotoxicity. Hsp20, Hsp27 and alphaB-crystallin, but not HspB2/B3, bound to Abeta (both D-Abeta1-40 and Abeta1-42) and reduced or completely inhibited aggregation of D-Abeta1-40 into mature fibrils but did not affect Abeta1-42 aggregation. Furthermore, these sHsps were effective inhibitors of the cerebrovascular toxicity of Abeta (both D-Abeta1-40 and Abeta1-42) in vitro. Binding affinity of the sHsps to D-Abeta1-40 correlated to the degree of inhibition of Abeta-mediated cytotoxicity and the potential to reduce Abeta beta-sheet and fibril formation. With Abeta1-42, a similar correlation between binding affinity and cytotoxicity was observed, but not with its aggregation state. In conclusion, sHsps may regulate Abeta aggregation and serve as antagonists of the biological action of Abeta, but the extent of their interaction depends on the type of sHsp and Abeta peptide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / chemistry
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Arteries / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • HSP20 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • HSP20 Heat-Shock Proteins / pharmacology
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Peptide Fragments / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • alpha-Crystallins / metabolism
  • alpha-Crystallins / pharmacology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • HSP20 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSPB1 protein, human
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Peptide Fragments
  • alpha-Crystallins
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-40)
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)