Chuang CY, Tsen CM, Huang CC, Huang YJ, Wu CC, Ho MY, Hsiao IL, Lin HC
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) enter the central nervous system through the blood-brain barrier (BBB). AgNP exposure can increase amyloid beta (Aβ) deposition in neuronal cells to potentially induce Alzheimer disease (AD) progression. However, the mechanism through which AgNPs alter BBB permeability in endothelial cells and subsequently lead to AD progression remains unclear. This study investigated whether AgNPs disrupt the tight junction proteins of brain endothelial cells, and alter the proteomic metabolism of neuronal cells underlying AD progression in a triple cell co-culture model constructed using mouse brain endothelial (bEnd.3) cells, mouse brain astrocytes (ALT), and mouse neuroblastoma neuro-2a (N2a) cells. The results showed that AgNPs accumulated in ALT and N2a cells because of the disruption of tight junction proteins, claudin-5 and ZO-1, in bEnd.3 cells. The proteomic profiling of N2a cells after AgNP exposure identified 298 differentially expressed proteins related to fatty acid metabolism. Particularly, AgNP-induced palmitic acid production was observed in N2a cells, which might promote Aβ generation. Moreover, AgNP exposure increased the protein expression of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and Aβ generation-related secretases, PSEN1, PSEN2, and BACE for APP cleavage in ALT and N2a cells, stimulated Aβ40 and Aβ42 secretion in the culture medium, and attenuated the gene expression of Aβ clearance-related receptors, P-gp and LRP-1, in bEnd.3 cells. Increased Aβ might further aggregate on the neuronal cell surface to enhance the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, MCP-1 and IL-6, thus inducing apoptosis in N2a cells. This study suggested that AgNP exposure might cause Aβ deposition and inflammation for subsequent neuronal cell apoptosis to potentially induce AD progression.