Neuronal production of transthyretin in human and murine Alzheimer's disease: is it protective?

J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31;31(35):12483-90. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2417-11.2011.


Transthyretin (TTR), a systemic amyloid precursor in the human TTR amyloidoses, interacts with β-amyloid (Aβ) in vitro, inhibits Aβ fibril formation, and suppresses the Alzheimer's disease (AD) phenotype in APP23 mice bearing a human APP gene containing the Swedish autosomal dominant AD mutation. In the present study, we show that TTR is a neuronal product upregulated in AD. Immunohistochemical analysis reveals that, in contrast to brains from non-demented age-matched individuals and control mice, the majority of hippocampal neurons from human AD and all those from the APP23 mouse brains contain TTR. Quantitative PCR for TTR mRNA and Western blot analysis show that primary neurons from APP23 mice transcribe TTR mRNA, and the cells synthesize and secrete TTR protein. TTR mRNA abundance is greatly increased in cultured cortical and hippocampal embryonic neurons and cortical lysates from adult APP23 mice. Antibodies specific for TTR and Aβ pulled down TTR/Aβ complexes from cerebral cortical extracts of APP23 mice and some human AD patients but not from control brains. In complementary tissue culture experiments, recombinant human TTR suppressed the cytotoxicity of soluble Aβ aggregates added to mouse neurons and differentiated human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. The findings that production of Aβ, its precursor, or its related peptides induces neuronal TTR transcription and synthesis and the presence of Aβ/TTR complexes in vivo suggest that increased TTR production coupled with interaction between TTR and Aβ and/or its related peptides may play a role in natural resistance to human AD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lipids / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Prealbumin / deficiency
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Prealbumin / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Transfection / methods


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Lipids
  • Prealbumin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • mutalipocin I