Peritoneal dialysis reduces amyloid-beta plasma levels in humans and attenuates Alzheimer-associated phenotypes in an APP/PS1 mouse model

Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Aug;134(2):207-220. doi: 10.1007/s00401-017-1721-y. Epub 2017 May 5.


Clearance of amyloid-beta (Aβ) from the brain is an important therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Current studies mainly focus on the central approach of Aβ clearance by introducing therapeutic agents into the brain. In a previous study, we found that peripheral tissues and organs play important roles in clearing brain-derived Aβ, suggesting that the peripheral approach of removing Aβ from the blood may also be effective for AD therapy. Here, we investigated whether peritoneal dialysis, a clinically available therapeutic method for chronic kidney disease (CKD), reduces brain Aβ burden and attenuates AD-type pathologies and cognitive impairments. Thirty patients with newly diagnosed CKD were enrolled. The plasma Aβ concentrations of the patients were measured before and after peritoneal dialysis. APP/PS1 mice were subjected to peritoneal dialysis once a day for 1 month from 6 months of age (prevention study) or 9 months of age (treatment study). The Aβ in the interstitial fluid (ISF) was collected using microdialysis. Behavioural performance, long-term potentiation (LTP), Aβ burden and other AD-type pathologies were measured after 1 month of peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis significantly reduced plasma Aβ levels in both CKD patients and APP/PS1 mice. Aβ levels in the brain ISF of APP/PS1 mice immediately decreased after reduction of Aβ in the blood during peritoneal dialysis. In both prevention and treatment studies, peritoneal dialysis substantially reduced Aβ deposition, attenuated other AD-type pathologies, including Tau hyperphosphorylation, glial activation, neuroinflammation, neuronal loss, and synaptic dysfunction, and rescued the behavioural deficits of APPswe/PS1 mice. Importantly, the Aβ phagocytosis function of microglia was enhanced in APP/PS1 mice after peritoneal dialysis. Our study suggests that peritoneal dialysis is a promising therapeutic method for AD, and Aβ clearance using a peripheral approach could be a desirable therapeutic strategy for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid-beta; Neurodegeneration; Peripheral clearance; Peritoneal dialysis.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / blood
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / blood
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / blood*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / blood
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / methods*
  • Phenotype
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy


  • AIF1 protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Presenilin-1
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • BACE1 protein, human