Original Paper

Neurochemical Research

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 1476-1482

First online:

Beta-Amyloid Toxicity in Embryonic Rat Astrocytes

  • Poincyane Assis-NascimentoAffiliated withSchool of Natural and Health Sciences, Barry University
  • , Karen M. JarvisAffiliated withSchool of Natural and Health Sciences, Barry University
  • , Jeremy R. MontagueAffiliated withSchool of Natural and Health Sciences, Barry University Email author 
  • , Laura M. MuddAffiliated withSchool of Natural and Health Sciences, Barry University

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The senile plaques of Alzheimer’s disease contain a high concentration of beta-amyloid (βA) protein, which may affect the glial population in the septal nucleus, an area of increased risk in AD. βA toxicity was measured in septal glia, via a dose-response experiment, by quantifying the effects of three different doses (0.1, 1, and 10 μM) of βA on cell survival. Astrocytes from embryonic day-16 rats were grown in serum-free media in a single layer culture. Cells were treated on day in vitro (DIV)1 and survival was determined on DIV3 to ascertain which concentration was most toxic. In a separate set of experiments, an attempt was made to protect glial cells from the degenerative effects of βA, with treatments of growth factors and estrogen. βA (10 μM) treatment was administered on DIV1, on DIV2 the cells were treated with estrogen (EST, 10 nM), insulin-like growth factors (IGF1 and IGF2, each 10 ng/ml), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF, 5 ng/ml) or nerve growth factor (NGF, 100 ng/ml), and on DIV3 the cells were visualized and quantified by fluorescence microscopy with DAPI (4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole). In addition to dose-response and glial protection, experiments were also conducted to determine whether toxic effects were due to apoptosis. Our results suggest that the survival of glial populations is significantly affected in all three concentrations (0.1, 1.0, and 10 μM) of βA. Glial protection was evident in the presence of NGF, for it showed the significantly highest survival rate relative to the βA treatment alone. Furthermore, toxic effects of βA appear to be due primarily to apoptosis. Significant reversal of βA-induced apoptosis was seen with bFGF and IGF1.


Beta-amyloid Rat Neurotoxicity Apoptosis