Increased ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 expression in Alzheimer's disease hippocampal neurons
ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) reduces amyloid-beta burden in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Associations between ABCA1 polymorphisms and AD risk are also established. Little is known regarding the regulation of ABCA1 expression in the brain and how this may be affected by AD. In the present study we assessed ABCA1 mRNA and protein expression in the hippocampus of AD cases compared to controls. ABCA1 was clearly expressed in hippocampal neurons and expression was increased two-to three-fold in AD cases. The increased hippocampal ABCA1 expression was associated with increased APOE and PUMA gene expression, implying an association with neuronal stress. Consistent with this, treatment of SK-N-SH neurons with amyloid-beta peptide resulted in a 48% loss in survival and a significant upregulation of ABCA1, APOE, and PUMA gene expression. Studies in young (2 month) and old (12 month) transgenic mice expressing a familial AD form of human amyloid-beta protein precursor and presenilin-1 revealed a significant age-dependent upregulation of hippocampal Abca1 compared to wild-type control mice. However, hippocampal Apoe and Puma gene expression were not correlated with increased Abca1 expression in mice. Our data indicate that ABCA1 is upregulated in AD hippocampal neurons potentially via an amyloid-beta-mediated pathway.