Aggregated amyloid-β protein induces cortical neuronal apoptosis and concomitant 'apoptotic' pattern of gene induction

Steven Estus, H. Michael Tucker, Corlia Van Rooyen, Sarah Wright, Elizabeth F. Brigham, Mark Wogulis, Russell E. Rydel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

265 Scopus citations


To gain a molecular understanding of neuronal responses to amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), we have analyzed the effects of Aβ treatment on neuronal gene expression in vitro by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and in situ hybridization. Treatment of cultured rat cortical neurons with Aβ1-40 results in a widespread apoptotic neuronal death. Associated with death is an induction of several members of the immediate early gene family. Specifically, we (1) report the time-dependent and robust induction of c- jun, junB, c-fos, and foaB, as well as transin, which is induced by c-Jun/c- Fos heterodimers and encodes an extracellular matrix protease; these gene inductions appear to be selective because other Jun and Fos family members, i.e., junD and fra-1, are induced only marginally; (2) show that the c-jun induction is widespread, whereas c-fos expression is restricted to a subset of neurons, typically those with condensed chromatin, which is a hallmark of apoptosis; (3) correlate gene induction and neuronal death by showing that each has a similar dose-response to Aβ; and (4) demonstrate that both cell death and immediate early gene induction are dependent on Aβ aggregation state. This overall gene expression pattern during this 'physiologically inappropriate' apoptotic stimulus is markedly similar to the pattern we previously identified after a 'physiologically appropriate' stimulus, i.e., the NGF deprivation-induced death of sympathetic neurons. Hence, the parallels identified here further our understanding of the genetic alterations that may lead neurons to apoptosis in response to markedly different insults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7736-7745
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1997


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid
  • Apoptosis
  • Immediate early genes
  • Programmed cell death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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