Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the elderly, which is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid β (Aβ) plaques, oxidative stress, and neuronal loss. Therefore, clearing Aβ aggregates and reducing oxidative stress could be an effective therapeutic strategy for AD. Deuterohemin-AlaHisThrValGluLys (DhHP-6), a novel deuterohemin-containing peptide mimetic of the natural microperoxidase-11 (MP-11), shows higher antioxidant activity and stability compared to the natural microperoxidases. DhHP-6 possesses the ability of extending lifespan and alleviating paralysis in the Aβ1-42 transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans
CL4176 model of AD, as shown in our previous study. Therefore, this study was aimed at exploring the neuroprotective effect of DhHP-6 in the APPswe/PSEN1dE9 transgenic mouse model of AD. DhHP-6 reduced the diameter and fiber structure of Aβ1-42 aggregation in vitro, as shown by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscope. DhHP-6 exerted its neuroprotective effect by inhibiting Aβ aggregation and plaque formation, and by reducing Aβ1-42 oligomers-induced neurotoxicity on HT22 (mouse hippocampal neuronal) and SH-SY5Y (human neuroblastoma) cells. In the AD mouse model, DhHP-6 significantly ameliorated cognitive decline and improved spatial learning ability in behavioral tests including the Morris water maze, Y-maze, novel object recognition, open field, and nest-building test. Moreover, DhHP-6 reduced the deposition of Aβ plaques in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. More importantly, DhHP-6 restored the morphology of astrocytes and microglia, and significantly reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our findings provide a basis for considering the non-toxic, peroxidase mimetic DhHP-6 as a new candidate drug against AD.
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