Mitochondrial DNA damage in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease decreases amyloid beta plaque formation

Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Oct;34(10):2399-2407. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.04.014. Epub 2013 May 21.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and the generation of reactive oxygen species have been associated with and implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. To study how mtDNA damage affects reactive oxygen species and amyloid beta (Aβ) pathology in vivo, we generated an Alzheimer's disease mouse model expressing an inducible mitochondrial-targeted endonuclease (Mito-PstI) in the central nervous system. Mito-PstI cleaves mtDNA causing mostly an mtDNA depletion, which leads to a partial oxidative phosphorylation defect when expressed during a short period in adulthood. We found that a mild mitochondrial dysfunction in adult neurons did not exacerbate Aβ accumulation and decreased plaque pathology. Mito-PstI expression altered the cleavage pathway of amyloid precursor protein without increasing oxidative stress in the brain. These data suggest that mtDNA damage is not a primary cause of Aβ accumulation.

Keywords: APP cleavage; Alzheimer; Plaque formation; ROS; mtDNA damage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage / physiology*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endonucleases / metabolism
  • Endonucleases / physiology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Endonucleases