The role of amyloid precursor protein in neuronal and non-neuronal cell lines

  • Erin Tse

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have provided useful insights into the pathogenesis and mechanistic pathways that lead to its development. One emerging idea about AD is that it may be described as a hypometabolic disorder due to the reduction of glucose uptake in AD brains. Inappropriate processing of Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) is considered central to the initiation and progression of the disease. Although the exact role of APP misprocessing is unclear, it may play a role in neuronal metabolism before the onset of neurodegeneration.
To investigate the potential role of APP in neuronal metabolism, the SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cell line was used to generate cell lines that stably overexpress wild type APP695 or express Swedish mutated-APP observed in familial AD (FAD), both under the control of the neuronal promoter, Synapsin I. The effects of APP on glucose uptake, cellular stress and energy homeostasis were studied extensively. It was found that APP-overexpressing cells exhibited decreased glucose uptake with changes in basal oxygen consumption in comparison to control cell lines.
Similar studies were also performed in fibroblasts taken from FAD patients compared with control fibroblasts. Previous studies found FAD-derived fibroblasts displayed altered metabolic profiles, calcium homeostasis and oxidative stress when compared to controls. As such, in this study fibroblasts were studied in terms of their ability to metabolise glucose and their mitochondrial function. Results show that FAD-derived fibroblasts demonstrate no differences in mitochondrial function, or response to oxidative stress compared to control fibroblasts. However, control fibroblasts treated with Aβ1-42 demonstrated changes in glucose uptake. This study highlights the importance of APP expression within non-neuronal cell lines, suggesting that whilst AD is considered a brain-associated disorder, peripheral effects in non-neuronal cell types should also be considered when studying the effects of Aβ on metabolism.
Date of Award3 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorEric J Hill (Supervisor) & Rhein Parri (Supervisor)


  • alzhelmer's disease
  • glucose
  • mitochondria
  • SHSY5Y cells
  • human dermal fibroblasts

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