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- Quantification of isoprenoids in brain tissue - cerebral regulation of FPP and GGPP in Alzheimer's Disease and aging (2010)
- Over the last years there has been an increasing interest in the involvement of the MVA-pathway and of members of the small GTPases, in the development and progression of AD. Earlier investigations mainly focused on the role of cholesterol in disease pathology. This research was supported by retrospective cohort studies, initially showing beneficial effects of the long-term intake of cholesterol lowering statins, on the incidence of the development of sporadic AD. However, in more recent literature increasing attention has been paid to the isoprenoids, FPP and GGPP, due to their crucial role in the post-translational modifications of members of the superfamily of small GTPases. In AD, these proteins were amongst others shown to be involved in mechanisms affecting APP processing, ROS generation and synaptic plasticity. A major factor impeding the clarification of the role of the MVA-pathway intermediates in these mechanisms was the lack of a sensitive and accurate method to determine FPP and GGPP levels in brain tissue. Hence, a state of the art HPLC-FLD method for the quantification of the isoprenoids FPP and GGPP in brain tissue was successfully developed. After the introduction of a double clean-up step from complex brain matrix samples and the synthesis of an appropriate IS (DNP), the method was fully validated according to the latest FDA guideline for bioanalytical method validation. Furthermore, this method was transferred to a faster and more sensitive, state of the art UHPLC-MS/MS application. Additionally, the method was shown to be applicable for mouse brain tissue and data was generated from an in vivo mouse simvastatin study and for different mouse models. According to the aims of the thesis, the current work describes for the first time absolute isoprenoid concentrations in human frontal cortex white and grey matter. Furthermore, this is the first report of isoprenoid levels in the frontal cortex of human AD brains. Further results were shown from mouse brains originating from different mouse models, including the Thy-1 APP mouse model mimicking AD pathology in terms of Aβ formation or C57Bl/6 mice at different ages. AD prevalence can be clearly correlated with increasing age. Therefore, three different generations of mice were investigated. The study demonstrated constant isoprenoid and cholesterol levels in the first half of their life followed by a significant increase of FPP and GGPP in the second half (between 12 and 24 month of age). Cholesterol levels were also elevated in the aged group, but again the effect was less pronounced than shown for the isoprenoids. These results lead to the tentative conclusion that cerebral isoprenoid levels are elevated during aging and that this accumulation is amplified during AD leading to accelerated neuronal dysfunction. In a different mouse study, using the C57Bl/6 mice, in vivo drug intervention with the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor simvastatin revealed strong inhibition of the rate limiting step of the mevalonate/isoprenoid/cholesterol pathway and resulted in the first report of significantly reduced FPP and GGPP levels in brain tissue of statin treated mice. These results open for the first time the possibility to monitor drug effects on cerebral isoprenoid levels and correlate these data with a modulation of APP processing, which was shown by our group in previous studies. Interestingly, apart from the isoprenoid reduction following statin treatment the reduction of brain cholesterol was also significant but to a lesser extent. These findings support the notion that isoprenoid levels are more susceptible to statin treatment than cholesterol levels. Furthermore, this suggests a strong cellular dependence on FPP and GGPP, as the pool seems to be easily depleted, which finally could lead to cell death. The first investigations of farnesylated Ras and geranylgeranylated Rac protein levels by means of immuno-blotting, substantiated the notion of a decreased abundance of prenylated small GTPases under statin influence as a consequence of reduced isoprenoid levels. These findings demonstrate for the first time a correlation of FPP and GGPP levels with the abundance of small GTPases. These findings together with the results from the AD study prove that isoprenoid levels are not strictly subject to the same regulation as cholesterol levels. To further understand the physiological regulation in the cell, in vitro experiments with different inhibitors of the mevalonate/isoprenoid/cholesterol pathway were conducted. These results confirmed the isoprenoid and cholesterol reducing effects of statin treatment as observed in the aforementioned in vivo mouse study. Interestingly, cholesterol synthesis inhibition targeted after FPP as the branch point, led to significantly elevated FPP levels. FTase inhibition led to significantly reduced FPP levels, whereas inhibition of the GGTase I did not show a significant change of either isoprenoid levels.