Rescue of Early bace-1 and Global DNA Demethylation by S-Adenosylmethionine Reduces Amyloid Pathology and Improves Cognition in an Alzheimer's Model

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 29;6:34051. doi: 10.1038/srep34051.


General DNA hypomethylation is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), but it is unclear when DNA hypomethylation starts or plays a role in AD pathology or whether DNA re-methylation would rescue early amyloid-related cognitive impairments. In an APP transgenic mouse model of AD-like amyloid pathology we found that early intraneuronal amyloid beta build-up is sufficient to unleash a global and beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 (bace-1) DNA demethylation in AD-vulnerable brain regions. S-adenosylmethionine administration at these early stages abolished this hypomethylation, diminished the amyloid pathology and restored cognitive capabilities. To assess a possible human significance of findings, we examined the methylation at 12 CpGs sites in the bace-1 promoter, using genome-wide DNA methylation data from 740 postmortem human brains. Thus, we found significant associations of bace-1 promoter methylation with β-amyloid load among persons with AD dementia, and PHFtau tangle density. Our results support a plausible causal role for the earliest amyloid beta accumulation to provoke DNA hypomethylation, influencing AD pathological outcomes.