Pleiotropic roles are proposed for brain extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our previous studies have suggested a beneficial role for EVs in AD, where the endosomal system in vulnerable neurons is compromised, contributing to the removal of accumulated material from neurons. However, the involvement of EVs in propagating AD amyloidosis throughout the brain has been considered because the amyloid-β precursor protein (APP), APP metabolites, and key APP cleaving enzymes were identified in association with EVs. Here, we undertook to determine whether the secretase machinery is actively processing APP in EVs isolated from the brains of wild-type and APP overexpressing Tg2576 mice. We found that full-length APP is cleaved in EVs incubated in the absence of cells. The resulting metabolites, both α- and β-APP carboxyl-terminal fragments and APP intracellular domain accumulate in EVs over time and amyloid-β dimerizes. Thus, EVs contribute to the removal from neurons and transport of APP-derived neurotoxic peptides. While this is potentially a venue for propagation of the pathology throughout the brain, it may contribute to efficient removal of neurotoxic peptides from the brain.
Keywords: APP metabolism; APP-CTFs; Alzheimer's disease; Aβ oligomers; exosomes.
© 2020 The Authors. The FASEB Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.