α7 Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-specific antibody induces inflammation and amyloid β42 accumulation in the mouse brain to impair memory.

Research paper by Olena O Lykhmus, Larysa L Voytenko, Lyudmyla L Koval, Sergiy S Mykhalskiy, Victor V Kholin, Kateryna K Peschana, Marios M Zouridakis, Socrates S Tzartos, Sergiy S Komisarenko, Maryna M Skok

Indexed on: 31 Mar '15Published on: 31 Mar '15Published in: PloS one


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) expressed in the brain are involved in regulating cognitive functions, as well as inflammatory reactions. Their density is decreased upon Alzheimer disease accompanied by accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ42), memory deficit and neuroinflammation. Previously we found that α7 nAChR-specific antibody induced pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 production in U373 glioblastoma cells and that such antibodies were present in the blood of humans. We raised a hypothesis that α7 nAChR-specific antibody can cause neuroinflammation when penetrating the brain. To test this, C57Bl/6 mice were either immunized with extracellular domain of α7 nAChR subunit α7(1-208) or injected with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 5 months. We studied their behavior and the presence of α3, α4, α7, β2 and β4 nAChR subunits, Aβ40 and Aβ42 and activated astrocytes in the brain by sandwich ELISA and confocal microscopy. It was found that either LPS injections or immunizations with α7(1-208) resulted in region-specific decrease of α7 and α4β2 and increase of α3β4 nAChRs, accumulation of Aβ42 and activated astrocytes in the brain of mice and worsening of their episodic memory. Intravenously transferred α7 nAChR-specific-antibodies penetrated the brain parenchyma of mice pre-injected with LPS. Our data demonstrate that (1) neuroinflammation is sufficient to provoke the decrease of α7 and α4β2 nAChRs, Aβ42 accumulation and memory impairment in mice and (2) α7(1-208) nAChR-specific antibodies can cause inflammation within the brain resulting in the symptoms typical for Alzheimer disease.

More like this: