A key event in Alzheimers disease (AD) pathogenesis is the formation of insoluble peptides β-amyloid aggregates and this process is favoured by a condition of hyperhomocysteinemia. To date, there is growing evidence that implicates glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in the pathophysiology of amyloidosis but no data are available on the characterization of brain GAGs involved in the enhancing β-amyloid fibrillogenesis in relationship to their structure and physico-chemical properties. Furthermore, few studies have been performed on the relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia and extracellular matrix (ECM) modifications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the amount and chemical structure of GAGs in rat striatal areas where β-amyloid fibrillogenesis was induced, and in conditions of hyperhomocysteinemia. The intrastriatal injection of β-amyloid produced a significant decrease (-40.8%) in the hyaluronic acid (HA) percentage and an increase (+14.5%) in the dermatan sulfate (DS) with a total charge density increasing of 14.9%. A significant decrease (- 19.5%) in the HA percentage and an increase (+6.9%) in the DS % was also observed in striata obtained from the hyperhomocysteinemic animals. The total charge density increased by 6.8%. Quite the same trend was observed in rats after intrastriatal injection of β-amyloid and in a condition of hyperhomocysteinemia. The observed increase of DS concentration and the correspondent decrease of the nonsulfated polymer HA after in vivo treatment with β-amyloid and in a condition of hyperhocysteinemia support the hypothesis that an increase in local production of sulfated GAGs may reduce β- amyloid neurotoxicity. However, the consequent modification of the ECM network might impair the extracellular diffusion pathways of different signal molecules and participate in the progression of AD.
Keywords: Glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulphate, dermatan sulphate, hyaluronic acid, Alzheimer's disease, β-amyloid, homocysteine
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