Increased Type I interferon signaling and brain endothelial barrier dysfunction in an experimental model of Alzheimer's disease

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 1;12(1):16488. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-20889-y.


Blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction is emerging as a key pathogenic factor in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), where increased microvascular endothelial permeability has been proposed to play an important role. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to increased brain microvascular permeability in AD are not fully understood. We studied brain endothelial permeability in female APPswe/PS1∆E9 (APP/PS1) mice which constitute a transgenic mouse model of amyloid-beta (Aβ) amyloidosis and found that permeability increases with aging in the areas showing the greatest amyloid plaque deposition. We performed an unbiased bulk RNA-sequencing analysis of brain endothelial cells (BECs) in female APP/PS1 transgenic mice. We observed that upregulation of interferon signaling gene expression pathways in BECs was among the most prominent transcriptomic signatures in the brain endothelium. Immunofluorescence analysis of isolated BECs from female APP/PS1 mice demonstrated higher levels of the Type I interferon-stimulated gene IFIT2. Immunoblotting of APP/PS1 BECs showed downregulation of the adherens junction protein VE-cadherin. Stimulation of human brain endothelial cells with interferon-β decreased the levels of the adherens junction protein VE-cadherin as well as tight junction proteins Occludin and Claudin-5 and increased barrier leakiness. Depletion of the Type I interferon receptor in human brain endothelial cells prevented interferon-β-induced VE-cadherin downregulation and restored endothelial barrier integrity. Our study suggests that Type I interferon signaling contributes to brain endothelial dysfunction in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Claudin-5 / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I* / metabolism
  • Interferon-beta / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Occludin / metabolism
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta / metabolism
  • Tight Junction Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Claudin-5
  • Interferon Type I
  • Occludin
  • Tight Junction Proteins
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta
  • RNA
  • Interferon-beta