Importance of extracellular vesicle secretion at the blood–cerebrospinal fluid interface in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease

Extracellular Vesicles

Increasing evidence indicates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We previously reported that the blood–cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) interface, formed by the choroid plexus epithelial (CPE) cells, releases an increased amount of EVs into the CSF in response to peripheral inflammation. Here, we studied the importance of CP-mediated EV release in AD pathogenesis. We observed increased EV levels in the CSF of young transgenic APP/PS1 mice which correlated with high amyloid beta (Aβ) CSF levels at this age. The intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of Aβ oligomers (AβO) in wild-type mice revealed a significant increase of EVs in the CSF, signifying that the presence of CSF-AβO is sufficient to induce increased EV secretion. Using in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo approaches, we identified the CP as a major source of the CSF-EVs. Interestingly, AβO-induced, CP-derived EVs induced pro-inflammatory effects in mixed cortical cultures. Proteome analysis of these EVs revealed the presence of several pro-inflammatory proteins, including the complement protein C3. Strikingly, inhibition of EV production using GW4869 resulted in protection against acute AβO-induced cognitive decline. Further research into the underlying mechanisms of this EV secretion might open up novel therapeutic strategies to impact the pathogenesis and progression of AD.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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