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Levetiracetam Treatment Normalizes Levels of Presynaptic Endocytosis Machinery and Restores Nonamyloidogenic APP Processing in App Knock-in Mice

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posted on 09.06.2021, 18:46 authored by Nalini R. Rao, Jeffrey N. Savas
Toxic amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides, produced by sequential proteolytic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), play a key role in the initial stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Increasing evidence indicates that Aβ42 induces neuronal circuit hyperexcitability in the early stages of AD pathology. As a result, researchers have investigated treatments that modulate the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance as potential AD therapies. For example, levetiracetam, an atypical antiepileptic drug used to quell hyperexcitability, has garnered recent interest in the AD field, even though its exact mechanism(s) of action remains elusive. Here, we show that in APP knock-in mouse models of amyloid pathology, chronic levetiracetam administration decreases cortical Aβ42 levels and lowers the amyloid plaque burden. In addition, using multiplexed tandem mass tag-quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis, we determined that chronic levetiracetam administration selectively normalizes levels of presynaptic endocytic proteins. Finally, we found that levetiracetam treatment selectively lowers beta carboxyl-terminal fragment levels, while the abundance of full-length APP remains unchanged. In summary, this work reports that chronic treatment with levetiracetam serves as a useful therapeutic in AD by normalizing levels of presynaptic endocytic proteins and altering APP cleavage preference, leading to a decrease in both Aβ42 levels and the amyloid plaque burden. These novel findings provide novel evidence for the previously documented therapeutic value of levetiracetam to mitigate AD pathology.