Lovastatin inhibits amyloid precursor protein (APP) β-cleavage through reduction of APP distribution in Lubrol WX extractable low density lipid rafts


Address correspondence and reprints requests to Inderjit Singh, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Ave., Charles P. Darby Children’s Research Institute, Rm. 516, Charleston, SC 29425, USA. E-mail: singhi@musc.edu


Previous studies have described that statins (inhibitors of cholesterol and isoprenoid biosynthesis) inhibit the output of amyloid-β (Aβ) in the animal model and thus decrease risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, their action mechanism(s) in Aβ precursor protein (APP) processing and Aβ generation is not fully understood. In this study, we report that lovastatin treatment reduced Aβ output in cultured hippocampal neurons as a result of reduced APP levels and β-secretase activities in low density Lubrol WX (non-ionic detergent) extractable lipid rafts (LDLR). Rather than altering cholesterol levels in lipid raft fractions and thus disrupting lipid raft structure, lovastatin decreased Aβ generation through down-regulating geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate dependent endocytosis pathway. The inhibition of APP endocytosis by treatment with lovastatin and reduction of APP levels in LDLR fractions by treatment with phenylarsine oxide (a general endocytosis inhibitor) support the involvement of APP endocytosis in APP distribution in LDLR fractions and subsequent APP β-cleavage. Moreover, lovastatin-mediated down-regulation of endocytosis regulators, such as early endosomal antigen 1, dynamin-1, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, indicates that lovastatin modulates APP endocytosis possibly through its pleiotropic effects on endocytic regulators. Collectively, these data report that lovastatin mediates inhibition of LDLR distribution and β-cleavage of APP in a geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate and endocytosis-dependent manner.