Potential In Vivo Amelioration by N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine of Oxidative Stress in Brain in Human Double Mutant APP/PS-1 Knock-In Mice: Toward Therapeutic Modulation of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Document Type


Publication Date



Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia among the elderly. Although the underlying cause has yet to be established, numerous data have shown that oxidative stress is implicated in AD as well as in preclinical stages of AD, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The oxidative stress observed in brains of subjects with AD and MCI may be due, either fully or in part, to increased free radicals mediated by amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta). By using double human mutant APP/PS-1 knock-in mice as the AD model, the present work demonstrates that the APP/PS-1 double mutation results in elevated protein oxidation (as indexed by protein carbonyls), protein nitration (as indexed by 3-nitrotyrosine), as well as lipid peroxidation (as indexed by protein-bound 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal) in brains of mice aged 9 months and 12 months. APP/PS-1 mice also exhibited lower levels of brain glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in both age groups studied, whereas glutathione reductase (GR) levels in brain were unaffected by the mutation. The activities of both of these antioxidant enzymes were significantly decreased in APP/PS-1 mouse brains, whereas the activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) was increased relative to controls in both age groups. Levels of peptidyl prolyl isomerase 1 (Pin1) were significantly decreased in APP/PS-1 mouse brain aged 9 and 12 months. Administration of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor, to APP/PS-1 mice via drinking water suppressed increased protein oxidation and nitration and also significantly augmented levels and activity of GPx in brain from both age groups. Oral administration of NAC also increased the diminished activity of GR and protected against lipid peroxidation in brains of 9-month-old APP/PS-1 mice only. Pin1 levels, GR levels, and G6PDH activity in brain were unaffected by oral administration of NAC in both age groups. These results are discussed with reference to the therapeutic potential of this brain-accessible glutathione precursor in the treatment of MCI and AD.