Published on Thu Aug 05 2021

The orphan drug dichloroacetate reduces amyloid beta-peptide production whilst promoting non-amyloidogenic proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein

Parkin, E. T., Hammond, J. E., Hodges, M. D.

Amyloid cascade hypothesis proposes that excessive accumulation of amyloid beta-peptides is the initiating event in Alzheimer's disease. We investigated whether the orphan drug, dichloroacetate, could alter amyloids precursor protein proteolysis. In SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, the drug enhanced sAPP generation.

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Abstract

The amyloid cascade hypothesis proposes that excessive accumulation of amyloid beta-peptides is the initiating event in Alzheimer's disease. These neurotoxic peptides are generated from the amyloid precursor protein via sequential cleavage by {beta}- and {gamma}-secretases in the 'amyloidogenic' proteolytic pathway. Alternatively, the amyloid precursor protein can be processed via the 'non-amyloidogenic' pathway which, through the action of the -secretase a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) 10, both precludes amyloid beta-peptide formation and has the additional benefit of generating a neuroprotective soluble amyloid precursor protein fragment, sAPP. In the current study, we investigated whether the orphan drug, dichloroacetate, could alter amyloid precursor protein proteolysis. In SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, dichloroacetate enhanced sAPP generation whilst inhibiting {beta}-secretase processing of endogenous amyloid precursor protein and the subsequent generation of amyloid beta-peptides. Over-expression of the amyloid precursor protein partly ablated the effect of dichloroacetate on amyloidogenic and non-amyloidogenic processing whilst over-expression of the {beta}-secretase only ablated the effect on amyloidogenic processing. Similar enhancement of ADAM-mediated amyloid precursor protein processing by dichloroacetate was observed in unrelated cell lines and the effect was not exclusive to the amyloid precursor protein as an ADAM substrate, as indicated by dichloroacetate-enhanced proteolysis of the Notch ligand, Jagged1. Despite altering proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein, dichloroacetate did not significantly affect the expression of -, {beta}- or {gamma}-secretases. In conclusion, dichloroacetate can inhibit amyloidogenic and promote non-amyloidogenic proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein. As the drug is already used for the treatment of lactic acidosis and is known to cross the blood-brain-barrier, it might represent a cheap and effective therapy for slowing the progression of Alzheimers disease.