Accumulation and deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) in the brain represent an early and perhaps necessary step in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ accumulation leads to the formation of Aβ aggregates, which may directly and indirectly lead to eventual neurodegeneration. While Aβ production is accelerated in many familial forms of early-onset AD, increasing evidence indicates that impaired clearance of Aβ is more evident in late-onset AD. To uncover the mechanisms underlying impaired Aβ clearance in AD, we examined the role of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) in astrocytes. Although LRP1 has been shown to play critical roles in brain Aβ metabolism in neurons and vascular mural cells, its role in astrocytes, the most abundant cell type in the brain responsible for maintaining neuronal homeostasis, remains unclear. Here, we show that astrocytic LRP1 plays a critical role in brain Aβ clearance. LRP1 knockdown in primary astrocytes resulted in decreased cellular Aβ uptake and degradation. In addition, silencing of LRP1 in astrocytes led to downregulation of several majorAβ-degrading enzymes, including matrix metalloproteasesMMP2,MMP9,and insulin-degrading enzyme. More important, conditional knock-out of the Lrp1 gene in astrocytes in the background of APP/PS1 mice impaired brainAβ clearance, exacerbatedAβ accumulation, and accelerated amyloid plaque deposition without affecting its production. Together, our results demonstrate that astrocyticLRP1plays an important role inAβ metabolism and that restoringLRP1expression and function in the brain could be an effective strategy to facilitate Aβ clearance and counter amyloid pathology in AD.
- Alzheimer’s disease