Background: Age is the major risk factor for many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). There is an accumulation of amyloid-beta peptides (Aβ) in both the AD brain and the normal aging brain. Clearance of Aβ from the brain occurs via active transport at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB). With increasing age, the expression of the Aβ efflux transporters is decreased and the Aβ influx transporter expression is increased at the BBB, adding to the amyloid burden in the brain. Expression of the Aβ transporters at the choroid plexus (CP) epithelium as a function of aging was the subject of this study.
Methods: This project investigated the changes in expression of the Aβ transporters, the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP-1), P-glycoprotein (P-gp), LRP-2 (megalin) and the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) at the BCSFB in Brown-Norway/Fischer rats at ages 3, 6, 9, 12, 20, 30 and 36 months, using real time RT-PCR to measure transporter mRNA expression, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) to measure transporter protein in isolated rat CP.
Results: There was an increase in the transcription of the Aβ efflux transporters, LRP-1 and P-gp, no change in RAGE expression and a decrease in LRP-2, the CP epithelium influx transporter, at the BCSFB with aging. Decreased Aβ42 concentration in the CP, as measured by quantitative IHC, was associated with these Aβ transporter alterations.
Conclusions: Age-dependent alterations in the CP Aβ transporters are associated with a decrease in Aβ42 accumulation in the CP, and are reciprocal to the changes seen in these transporters at the BBB, suggesting a possible compensatory role for the BCSFB in Aβ clearance in aging.