Thyroid hormone regulates endogenous amyloid-beta precursor protein gene expression and processing in both in vitro and in vivo models

Thyroid. 2006 Dec;16(12):1207-13. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.16.1207.


Thyroid hormone negatively regulates the amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP) gene in thyroid hormone receptor (TR)-transfected neuroblastoma cells. A negative thyroid hormone response element (nTRE) that mediates this regulation has been identified in the first exon of the APP gene. We demonstrate in an in vivo system that expression of APP mRNA, APP protein, and APP secretase cleavage products in mouse brain is influenced by thyroid status. Adult female mice were made hyperthyroid or hypothyroid for 3 weeks and compared to euthyroid mice. APP gene product expression was increased in hypothyroid mouse brain and reduced in hyperthyroid mouse brain, when compared to euthyroid controls. We observed similar effects of thyroid hormone on endogenous APP gene expression in human neuroblastoma cells. The incidence of hypothyroidism increases with age, and localized hypothyroidism of central nervous system has been reported in some patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reduced action of thyroid hormone on the APP gene may contribute to AD pathology by increasing APP expression and the levels of processed APP products. These findings may be an underlying mechanism contributing to the association of hypothyroidism with AD in the elderly, as well as identifying a potential therapeutic target. Pharmacologic supplementation of thyroid hormone, or its analogs, may reduce APP gene expression and beta amyloid peptide accumulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / biosynthesis*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / metabolism
  • Hypothyroidism / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Thyroxine / pharmacology*
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Tretinoin
  • Thyroxine