Amyloid-β peptides (Aβ), generated by proteolysis of the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases, play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Inflammation is also believed to be integral to the pathogenesis of AD. Here we show that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a strong inducer of inflammation, stimulates the production of Aβ in cultured human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 or human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells, both of which express a mutant type of APP. We have demonstrated using subtype-specific agonists that, of the four main subtypes of PGE2 receptors (EP1-4), EP4 receptors alone or EP2 and EP4 receptors together are responsible for this PGE2-stimulated production of Aβ in HEK293 or SH-SY5Y cells, respectively. An EP4 receptor antagonist suppressed the PGE2-stimulated production of Aβ in HEK293 cells. This stimulation was accompanied by an increase in cellular cAMP levels, and an analogue of cAMP stimulated the production of Aβ, demonstrating that increases in the cellular level of cAMP are responsible for the PGE 2-stimulated production of Aβ. Immunoblotting experiments and direct measurement of γ-secretase activity suggested that PGE 2-stimulated production of Aβ is mediated by activation of γ-secretase but not of β-secretase. Transgenic mice expressing the mutant type of APP showed lower levels of Aβ in the brain, when they were crossed with mice lacking either EP2 or EP4 receptors, suggesting that PGE2-mediated activation of EP2 and EP4 receptors is involved in the production of Aβ in vivo and in the pathogenesis of AD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas