Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 184, Issue 2, pp 442–449 | Cite as

Selenium and Zinc against Aβ25–35-Induced Cytotoxicity and Tau Phosphorylation in PC12 Cells and Inhibits γ-cleavage of APP

  • Guang-zhe Li
  • Fang Liu
  • Cui Xu
  • Jing-yang Li
  • Yan-ji Xu


Amyloid beta (Aβ) is the main component of the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer patients. The present study was conducted to investigate whether the combined treatment with selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) offers more beneficial effects than that provided by either of them alone in reversing Aβ25–35-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells. Cells were pretreated with 0.1 μmol/L of Se and Zn for 4 h, after treated with 10 mmol/L Aβ25–35 for 24 h. Cells were divided into control and five treated groups, and received either 10 mmol/L Aβ25–35,10 mmol/L Aβ25–35 + 0.1 μmol/L Se, 10 mmol/L Aβ25–35 + 0.1 μmol/L Zn, 10 mmol/LAβ25–35 + 0.1 μmol/L Se + 0.1 μmol/L Zn, or 0.1 μmol/L Se + 0.1 μmol/L Zn. The result showed that cell viability was decreased in MTT metabolic rate; LDH release and MDA, H2O2, and NO levels were increased and the GSK-3β and phosphorylated tau protein level were increased in Aβ25–35-treated group (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01), which whole changes were attenuated by Se and Zn and Se combined Zn. In order to evaluate whether the Se and Zn have an effect on processing pathway of amyloid precursor protein (APP), we examined the activity of γ-secretase in primary cultured cortical neuron cells. ELISA analysis showed that Se and Zn could inhibit the activity of γ-secretase. Then we also investigated the effect of Se and Zn on the Aβ1–40 concentration and APP-N-terminal fragment expression from APP695 stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. APP695 stably transfected CHO cells were treated with 0.1 μmol/L Se and Zn; cells were divided into control and four treated groups, which received either 0.5 M DAPT, 0.1 μmol/L Se, 0.1 μmol/L Zn, or 0.1 μmol/L Se + 0.1 μmol/L Zn. Se and Zn could decrease Aβ1–40 production and increase the APP-N-terminal fragment protein expression. These experiments indicate that Se and Zn have a protective effect on AD pathology that a possible mechanism is inhibiting the activity of γ-secretase to decreasing Aβ1–40 production further influencing the APP processing. Altogether, our findings may provide a novel therapeutic target to treat AD sufferers.


Selenium Zinc 25–35 Tau APP γ-secretase Alzheimer’s disease 



This work was financially supported by the Research Fund of Jilin Provincial Education Department (2016-279) and the National Science Foundation of China (81160159) and China Scholarship Council (2016-3192).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guang-zhe Li
    • 2
  • Fang Liu
    • 1
  • Cui Xu
    • 1
  • Jing-yang Li
    • 1
  • Yan-ji Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical CollegeYanbian UniversityYanjiChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryYanbian Brain HospitalYanjiChina

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