DPP‐4 Inhibitor Linagliptin Attenuates Aβ‐induced Cytotoxicity through Activation of AMPK in Neuronal Cells
Previous studies demonstrated that a high fat/high cholesterol (HFC) diet results in a loss of working memory in mice correlated with neuroinflammatory changes and increased AβPP processing (Thirumangalakudi et al. (2008) J Neurochem 106, 475-485). To further explore the nature of the molecular correlates of cognitive impairment, in this study, we examined changes in tau phosphorylation, insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) including GSK3, and levels of specific synaptic proteins. Immunoblot analysis of hippocampal tissue from C57BL/6 mice fed HFC for 2 months with anti-phospho-tau (i.e., PHF1 and phospho-Thr-231 tau) antibodies demonstrated the presence of hyperphosphorylated tau. The tau phosphorylation correlated with activated GSK3, a prominent tau kinase normally kept inactive under the control of IIS. That IIS itself was impaired due to the hyperlipidemic diet was confirmed by a down-regulation of insulin receptor substrate-1 and phospho-Akt levels. Although no significant changes in the levels of the pre-synaptic protein (i.e., synaptophysin) in response to HFC were apparent in immunoblot analysis, there was a clear down-regulation of the post-synaptic protein, PSD95, and drebrin, a dendritic spine-specific protein, indicative of altered synaptic plasticity. The results, in concert with previous findings with the same model, suggest that high dietary fat/cholesterol elicits brain insulin resistance and altered IIS leading to Alzheimer's disease-like cognitive impairment in 'normal' mice.