Proinflammatory cytokines induce accumulation of glypican-1-derived heparan sulfate and the C-terminal fragment of β-cleaved APP in autophagosomes of dividing neuronal cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Proinflammatory cytokines stimulate expression of β-secretase, which increases processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP), ultimately leading to the deposition of amyloid beta (Aβ). The N-terminal domain of β-cleaved APP supports Cu/NO-dependent release of heparan sulfate (HS) from the glypican-1 (Gpc-1) proteoglycan. HS is an inhibitor of β-secretase, thereby constituting a regulatory, negative feedback loop. Here, we have investigated the effect of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 on the interplay between APP processing and release of HS from Gpc-1 in neuronal cells. We have used deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and a panel of monoclonal/polyclonal antibodies recognizing the released HS, the N-terminus of Aβ, Aβ, the C-terminus of APP and the autophagosome marker LC3 as well as the chemical lysosome marker LysoTrackerRed (LTR). We repeatedly found that N2a neuroblastoma cells and human neural stem cells grown in the presence of the cytokines developed large cytoplasmic clusters, which stained positive for HS, the N-terminus of Aβ, Aβ, the C-terminus of APP, LC3 and LTR, indicating accumulation of HS and APP/APP degradation products in enlarged autophagosomes/lysosomes. The SDS-PAGE of immunoisolates obtained from TNF-α-treated N2a cells by using anti-C-terminus of APP revealed the presence of SDS-stable complexes between HS and the C-terminal fragment of β-cleaved APP (βCTF) migrating in the range 10-18 kDa. Clustered accumulation of βCTF disappeared when HS release was prevented and slightly enhanced when HS release was increased. Hence, when proinflammatory cytokines induce increased processing of APP, inhibition of β-secretase by HS is insufficient, which may lead to the impaired autophagosomal degradation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences


  • Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid precursor protein, glypican-1, heparan sulfate, inflammatory cytokines
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch