Aggravation of Alzheimer's disease due to the COX-2-mediated reciprocal regulation of IL-1β and Aβ between glial and neuron cells

Aging Cell. 2014 Aug;13(4):605-15. doi: 10.1111/acel.12209. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and displays the characteristics of chronic neurodegenerative disorders; amyloid plaques (AP) that contain amyloid β-protein (Aβ) accumulate in AD, which is also characterized by tau phosphorylation. Epidemiological evidence has demonstrated that long-term treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) markedly reduces the risk of AD by inhibiting the expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). Although the levels of COX-2 and its metabolic product prostaglandin (PG)E2 are elevated in the brain of AD patients, the mechanisms for the development of AD remain unknown. Using human- or mouse-derived glioblastoma and neuroblastoma cell lines as model systems, we delineated the signaling pathways by which COX-2 mediates the reciprocal regulation of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and Aβ between glial and neuron cells. In glioblastoma cells, COX-2 regulates the synthesis of IL-1β in a PGE2 -dependent manner. Moreover, COX-2-derived PGE2 signals the activation of the PI3-K/AKT and PKA/CREB pathways via cyclic AMP; these pathways transactivate the NF-κB p65 subunit via phosphorylation at Ser 536 and Ser 276, leading to IL-1β synthesis. The secretion of IL-1β from glioblastoma cells in turn stimulates the expression of COX-2 in human or mouse neuroblastoma cells. Similar regulatory mechanisms were found for the COX-2 regulation of BACE-1 expression in neuroblastoma cells. More importantly, Aβ deposition mediated the inflammatory response of glial cells via inducing the expression of COX-2 in glioblastoma cells. These findings not only provide new insights into the mechanisms of COX-2-induced AD but also initially define the therapeutic targets of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cytokines; gene expression; neurodegenerative disease; signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism*
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Dinoprostone