Study: Platelets likely to perform a protective function in AD

A new research paper was published on the cover of Aging entitled, "Immune-mediated platelet depletion augments Alzheimer's disease neuropathological hallmarks in APP-PS1 mice."

In Alzheimer's disease (AD), platelets become dysfunctional and might contribute to amyloid beta deposition. In a recent study, researchers Diana M. Bessa de Sousa, Ariane Benedetti, Barbara Altendorfer, Heike Mrowetz, Michael S. Unger, Katharina Schallmoser, Ludwig Aigner, and Kathrin Maria Kniewallner from Paracelsus Medical University and Austrian Cluster for Tissue Regeneration in Austria depleted platelets in one-year-old APP Swedish PS1 dE9 (APP-PS1) transgenic mice for five days, using intraperitoneal injections of an anti-CD42b antibody, and assessed changes in cerebral amyloidosis, plaque-associated neuritic dystrophy and gliosis.

"The potential role of platelets in amyloid beta deposition led to the hypothesis that reducing platelet numbers might ameliorate AD pathology. Here, we performed immune-mediated platelet depletion in APP-PS1 mice with an already fully developed amyloidosis and investigated its effects on classical hallmarks of AD: amyloid plaque pathology, plaque-associated neuritic dystrophy and gliosis."

In APP-PS1 female mice, platelet depletion shifted amyloid plaque size distribution towards bigger plaques and increased neuritic dystrophy in the hippocampus. In platelet-depleted females, plaque-associated Iba1+ microglia had lower amounts of fibrillar amyloid beta cargo and GFAP+ astrocytic processes showed a higher overlap with thioflavin S+ amyloid plaques. In contrast to the popular hypothesis that platelets foster plaque pathology, data from this study suggest that platelets might limit plaque growth and attenuate plaque-related neuritic dystrophy at advanced stages of amyloid plaque pathology in APP-PS1 female mice. Whether the changes in amyloid plaque pathology are due to a direct effect on amyloid beta deposition or are a consequence of altered glial function needs to be further elucidated.

"In APP-PS1 females, acute thrombocytopenia aggravates AD neuropathology, suggesting that platelets might have a protective function in AD. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which platelets modulate amyloid plaque deposition remain elusive and need to be investigated in future experiments."

Journal reference:

de Sousa, D. M. B., et al. (2023) Immune-mediated platelet depletion augments Alzheimer’s disease neuropathological hallmarks in APP-PS1 mice. Aging.


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