Selective intracellular release of copper and zinc ions from bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complexes reduces levels of Alzheimer disease amyloid-β peptide

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Donnelly, Paul S, Caragounis, Aphrodite, Du, Tai, Laughton, Katrina M, Volitakis, Irene, Cherny, Robert A, Sharples, Robyn A, Hill, Andrew F ORCID: 0000-0001-5581-2354, Li, Qiao-Xin, Masters, Colin L ORCID: 0000-0003-3072-7940, Barnham, Kevin J and White, Anthony R ORCID: 0000-0003-1802-9891 (2008) Selective intracellular release of copper and zinc ions from bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complexes reduces levels of Alzheimer disease amyloid-β peptide. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283 (8). pp. 4568-4577. ISSN 0021-9258


Copper and zinc play important roles in Alzheimer disease pathology with recent reports describing potential therapeutics based on modulation of metal bioavailability. We examined the ability of a range of metal bis(thiosemicarbazonato) complexes (MII(btsc), where M = Cu II or ZnII) to increase intracellular metal levels in Chinese hamster ovary cells overexpressing amyloid precursor protein (APP-CHO) and the subsequent effect on extracellular levels of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). The CuII(btsc) complexes were engineered to be either stable to both a change in oxidation state and dissociation of metal or susceptible to intracellular reduction and dissociation of metal. Treatment of APP-CHO cells with stable complexes resulted in elevated levels of intracellular copper with no effect on the detected levels of Aβ. Treatment with complexes susceptible to intracellular reduction increased intracellular copper levels but also resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in the levels of monomeric Aβ. Treatment with less stable ZnII(btsc) complexes increased intracellular zinc levels with a subsequent dose-dependent depletion of monomeric Aβ levels. The increased levels of intracellular bioavailable copper and zinc initiated a signaling cascade involving activation of phosphoinositol 3-kinase and c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Inhibition of these enzymes prevented Aβ depletion induced by the MII(btsc) complexes. Inhibition of metalloproteases also partially restored Aβ levels, implicating metal-driven metalloprotease activation in the extracellular monomeric Aβ depletion. However, a role for alternative metal-induced Aβ metabolism has not been ruled out. These studies demonstrate that M II(btsc) complexes have potential for Alzheimer disease therapy.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1074/jbc.M705957200
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3207 Medical microbiology
Current > Division/Research > Chancellery
Keywords copper, zinc, Alzheimer's disease, AD, dementia, brain health, intracellular metal levels, neurodegenerative disease
Citations in Scopus 161 - View on Scopus
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