The Effects of L-Cysteine on Alzheimer's Disease Pathology in APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4 Homozygous Mice
The APOE gene is of profound importance regarding the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). From the small physical differences among the protein products of the isoforms of this gene arises a profound difference in their physiologies. For example, the APOE2 isoform confers resistance to AD, the APOE3 isoform confers neutral susceptibility to AD, and the APOE4 isoform confers proneness to AD. L-cysteine is an amino acid that has several anti-AD properties, among which are its ability to sequester iron and form glutathione – a powerful antioxidant – and therefore may be a promising potential dietary supplement for ameliorating AD pathology. In our experiment, we fed Mus musculus (mice) homozygous for APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4 either a control diet or a diet high in L-cysteine. Using Western blotting analysis, we quantified Amyloid β (Aβ), hyper-phosphorylated Tau (HP-Tau), and the three APOE proteins that we extracted from post-mortem brains of APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4 homozygous mice of 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month ages. We calculated a three-way ANOVA on a sample of 86 mice to examine the effect of age, genotype, and diet on protein quantities. We found that administration of L-cysteine trends towards lowering levels of Aβ in each cohort, but this effect is statistically insignificant. On the other hand, L-cysteine caused a significant decrease in APOE production with regard to diet [F(1,62) = 6.17, p=0.02], indicating that less APOE is produced due to the decrease in Aβ burden. Furthermore, administration of L-cysteine revealed no significant impact on or trends regarding HP-Tau deposition between diet types for each cohort. However, we observed that L-cysteine appeared to nullify the increasing trend in HP-Tau deposition between APOE2 and APOE4 cohorts. Thus, L-cysteine may be weakly affecting HP-Tau deposition via its ability to somewhat reduce Aβ burden and consequently prevent the shutdown of the proteosomes responsible for the degradation and clearance of HP-Tau. Taken together, these data suggest that L-cysteine should be considered as an intervention for AD pathology.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Physiology and Developmental Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Cieslak, Stephen Gerard, "The Effects of L-Cysteine on Alzheimer's Disease Pathology in APOE2, APOE3, and APOE4 Homozygous Mice" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 6585.
alzheimer's disease, APOE4, APOE3, APOE2, amyloid β, tau, L-cysteine, diet