Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive memory loss due to extracellular senile plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. The toxic β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregates that form in AD can induce the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and proinflammatory cytokines. These Aβ aggregates likely play a pivotal role in the onset and progression of AD. Reducing Aβ generation, inhibiting Aβ toxicity, and improving Aβ clearance are promising therapeutic strategies for AD. The present paper is the first to reveal a heptapeptide (XD4) isolated from a Ph.D.-C7C library through phage display that significantly inhibited Aβ cytotoxicity, increased the microglial phagocytosis of Aβ, decreased the Aβ-induced generation of ROS and NO, and attenuated the disequilibrium of calcium homeostasis in vitro. Remarkably, XD4 also attenuated memory deficits in β-amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1 (APPswe/PS1dE9) transgenic mice, and reduced amyloid plaque burden and Aβ40/42 levels. The results of the present study indicate that this peptide, which specifically targets Aβ, may be a promising new therapy for patients exhibiting cognitive impairment and increased Aβ burden.
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