Impaired amyloid-β clearance from the brain is a core pathological event in Alzheimer's disease. The therapeutic effect of current pharmacotherapies is unsatisfactory, and some treatments cause severe side effects. The meningeal lymphatic vessels might be a new route for amyloid-β clearance. This study investigated whether promoting dural lymphangiogenesis facilitated the clearance of amyloid-β from the brain. First, human lymphatic endothelial cells were treated with 100 ng/mL recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor-C (rhVEGF-C) protein. Light microscopy verified that rhVEGF-C, a specific ligand for vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), significantly promoted tube formation of human lymphatic endothelial cells in vitro. In an in vivo study, 200 μg/mL rhVEGF-C was injected into the cisterna magna of APP/PS1 transgenic mice, once every 2 days, four times in total. Immunofluorescence staining demonstrated high levels of dural lymphangiogenesis in Alzheimer's disease mice. One week after rhVEGF-C administration, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay results showed that levels of soluble amyloid-β were decreased in cerebrospinal fluid and brain. The Morris water maze test demonstrated that spatial cognition was restored. These results indicate that the upregulation of dural lymphangiogenesis facilities amyloid-β clearance from the brain of APP/PS1 mice, suggesting the potential of the VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 signaling pathway as a therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; amyloid-β; dura mater; lymphangiogenesis; lymphatic clearance; lymphatic endothelial cells; nerve regeneration; neural regeneration; recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor-C.