BACKGROUND: Accumulation of β-amyloid peptides is an important hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tremendous efforts have been directed to elucidate the mechanisms of β-amyloid peptides degradation and develop strategies to remove β-amyloid accumulation. In this study, we demonstrated that a subpopulation of oligodendroglial precursor cells, also called NG2 cells, were a new cell type that can clear β-amyloid peptides in the AD transgene mice and in NG2 cell line.

RESULTS: NG2 cells were recruited and clustered around the amyloid plaque in the APPswe/PS1dE9 mice, which is Alzheimer's disease mouse model. In vitro, NG2 cell line and primary NG2 cells engulfed β-amyloid peptides through the mechanisms of endocytosis in a time dependent manner. Endocytosis is divided into pinocytosis and phagocytosis. Aβ(42) internalization by NG2 cells was mediated by actin-dependent macropinocytosis. The presence of β-amyloid peptides stimulated the autophagic pathway in NG2 cells. Once inside the cells, the β-amyloid peptides in NG2 cells were transported to lysosomes and degraded by autophagy.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that NG2 cells are a new cell type that can clear β-amyloid peptides through endocytosis and autophagy.

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Published in Molecular Neurodegeneration, v. 8, no. 27.

© 2013 Li et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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