Indexed on: 11 Feb '14Published on: 11 Feb '14Published in: International journal of Alzheimer's disease
Neprilysin (NEP) is the principal amyloid β (A β ) degrading peptidase; this activity may protect against Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most important age-related neurodegenerative process. The aim of this work was to analyze NEP mRNA expression in the frontal cortex of dogs with and without canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), which is considered a natural model for AD. Expression of canine cerebral NEP mRNA was assessed by RT-PCR followed by qPCR in young, aged-cognitively unimpaired (CU), and aged-cognitively impaired (CI) dogs. On average, aged-CI dogs showed 80% (P < 0.01) lower expression levels of NEP mRNA than their aged-CU counterparts. Furthermore, the standard deviation of the qPCR measurements was more than 6 times higher in the cognitively healthy animals (young and aged-CU) than in the aged-CI group. Another interesting find is the determination of a positive correlation between NEP expression and the number of cholinergic neurons in basal telencephalon, indicating a probable connection between both events in these types of neurodegeneration processes. These results suggest that high expression levels of NEP might be a protective factor for canine CDS and, most likely, for other A β -associated neurodegenerative diseases, such as AD.