Identification of the Alzheimer's disease amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its homologue APLP2 as essential modulators of glucose and insulin homeostasis and growth#

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The amyloid precursor protein (APP), the source of the neurotoxic amyloid β (Aβ) peptide involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD), belongs to a conserved family of related proteins. In mammals, the APP family contains amyloid precursor-like protein 1 (APLP1) and amyloid precursor-like protein 2 (APLP2). Whilst a number of activities have been attributed to the APP family, an overall function has not been definitively established. While ablating either theAPPorAPLP2gene in mice produces minimal phenotypic change, the combined knockout of these genes in mice causes postnatal mortality. Postnatal survival therefore requires a shared but unknown function of APP and APLP2. To investigate the biochemical basis for the postnatal lethality, plasma was analysed from double knockout mice (APP−/− APLP2−/−) 2 days before birth, at gestational day E17, and from mice at 12–16 h after birth. The postnatal double knockouts had 66% lower plasma glucose levels than their wild-type controls and 50% lower than their single knockout counterparts. Interestingly, the postnatal double knockouts displayed hyperinsulinaemia, as shown by inappropriate plasma insulin levels, given their degree of hypoglycaemia. The single knockout mice also showed hyperinsulinaemia and had 31% lower plasma glucose than the wild-types. While the double knockouts did not survive more than 24 h after birth, the single knockouts reached adulthood and their hypoglycaemia continued. Therefore, APP and APLP2 expression modulates plasma insulin and glucose concentrations. Plasma calcium, magnesium and phosphate were also significantly reduced in the double knockouts compared to the wild-types, and they showed distinctive growth restriction, suggesting the involvement of a metabolic impairment. These results link the expression of theAPPandAPLP2genes with glucose homeostasis and growth and therefore identify a novel function for the APP family. Copyright © 2008 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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