Volume 43 (2018) Issue 4 Pages 257-266
The increased ratio of longer amyloid-β (Aβ1-42)/shorter amyloid-β (Aβ1-40) peptides, generated from amyloid precursor protein (APP), is known to promote the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To investigate the role of smoking in Aβ production, we determined the production of Aβ species in the presence of nicotine or methyl vinyl ketone (MVK), major components of cigarette smoke extracts, in Flp-In™ T-REx™-293 (T-REx293) cells harboring a single copy of human APP. While treatment with nicotine or MVK did not affect the amount of APP, the levels of Aβ1-40 in the culture media were significantly increased. On the other hand, the levels of Aβ1-42 were unaltered by nicotine or MVK treatment. The Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio was therefore attenuated by cigarette smoke extracts. Similar results were obtained in T-REx293 cells harboring APP of Swedish- or London-type mutation linked to familial AD. T-REx293 cells expressed the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAchR) and tubocurarine, an nAChR antagonist, completely blocked the effects of nicotine. Treatment with nicotine significantly elevated cellular levels of β-secretase that cleaves APP prior to Aβ generation. Taken together, a protective role of nicotine against AD pathology was suggested by enhanced extracellular Aβ1-40 production, which may suppress Aβ fibrillogenesis.