Stress kinases involved in tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer's disease, tauopathies and APP transgenic mice.Neurotox Res 2004; 6(6):469-75NR
Hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of tau in neurons (and glial cells) is one of the main pathologic hallmarks in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies, including Pick's disease (PiD), progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, argyrophilic grain disease and familial frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 due to mutations in the tau gene (FTDP-17-tau). Recent studies have shown increased expression of select active kinases, including stress-activated kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) and kinase p38 in brain homogenates in all the tauopathies. Strong active SAPK/JNK and p38 immunoreactivity has been observed restricted to neurons and glial cells containing hyperphosphorylated tau, as well as in dystrophic neurites of senile plaques in AD. Moreover, SAPK/JNK- and p38-immunoprecipitated sub-cellular fractions enriched in abnormal hyperphosphorylated tau have the capacity to phosphorylate recombinat tau and c-Jun and ATF-2 which are specific substrates of SAPK/JNK and p38 in AD and PiD. Interestingly, increased expression of phosphorylated SAPK/JNK and p38 in association with hyperphosphorylated tau containing neurites have been observed around betaA4 amyloid deposits in the brain of transgenic mice (Tg2576)carrying the double APP Swedish mutation. These findings suggest that betaA4 amyloid has the capacity to trigger the activation of stress kinases which, in turn, phosphorylate tau in neurites surrounding amyloid deposits. Reduction in the amyloid burden and decreased numbers of amyloid plaques but not of neurofibrillary degeneration has been observed in the brain of two AD patients who participated in an amyloid-beta immunization trial. Activation of stress kinases SAPK/JNK and p38 were reduced together with decreased tau hyperphosphorylation of aberrant neurites in association with decreased amyloid plaques. These findings support the amyloid cascade hypothesis of tau phosphorylation mediated by stress kinases in dystrophic neurites of senile plaques but not that of neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads in AD.