Spirolides are marine compounds of the cyclic imine group. Although the mechanism of action is not fully elucidated yet, cholinergic (muscarinic and nicotinic) receptors have been proposed as the main targets of these toxins. In this study we examined the effect of 13-desmethyl spirolide-C (SPX) on amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulation and tau hyperphosphorylation in a neuronal model from triple transgenic mice (3xTg) for Alzheimer disease (AD). In vitro treatment of 3xTg cortical neurons with SPX reduced intracellular Aβ accumulation and the levels of phosphorylated tau. SPX treatment did not affect the steady-state levels of neither the M1 and M2 muscarinic nor the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), while it decreased the amplitude of acetylcholine-evoked responses and increased ACh (acetylcholine) levels in 3xTg neurons. Additionally, SPX treatment decreased the levels of two protein kinases involved in tau phosphorylation, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) and extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK). Also SPX abolished the glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in both control and 3xTg neurons. The results presented here constitute the first report indicating that exposure of 3xTg neurons to nontoxic concentrations of SPX produces a simultaneous reduction in the main pathological characteristics of AD. In spite of the few reports analyzing the mode of action of the toxin we suggest that SPX could ameliorate AD pathology increasing the intracellular ACh levels and simultaneously diminishing the levels of kinases involved in tau phosphorylation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Alzheimer disease
- Tau protein