Dynamin-like protein 1 reduction underlies mitochondrial morphology and distribution abnormalities in fibroblasts from sporadic Alzheimer's disease patients

Am J Pathol. 2008 Aug;173(2):470-82. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.071208. Epub 2008 Jul 3.


Mitochondrial function relies heavily on its morphology and distribution, alterations of which have been increasingly implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we found abnormal mitochondrial distribution characterized by elongated mitochondria that accumulated in perinuclear areas in 19.3% of sporadic AD (sAD) fibroblasts, which was in marked contrast to their normally even cytoplasmic distribution in the majority of human fibroblasts from normal subjects (>95%). Interestingly, levels of dynamin-like protein 1 (DLP1), a regulator of mitochondrial fission and distribution, were decreased significantly in sAD fibroblasts. To explore the potential role of DLP1 in mediating mitochondrial abnormalities in sAD fibroblasts, both the overexpression of a dominant negative DLP1 mutant and the reduced expression of DLP1 by miR RNAi in human fibroblasts from normal subjects significantly increased mitochondrial abnormalities. Moreover, overexpression of wild-type DLP1 in sAD fibroblasts rescued these mitochondrial abnormalities. Based on these data, we conclude that DLP1 reduction causes mitochondrial abnormalities in sAD fibroblasts. We further demonstrate that elevated oxidative stress and increased amyloid beta production are likely the potential pathogenic factors that cause DLP1 reduction and abnormal mitochondrial distribution in AD cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dynamins
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • DNM1L protein, human
  • Dynamins