Tauroursodeoxycholic acid modulates p53-mediated apoptosis in Alzheimer's disease mutant neuroblastoma cells

Rita M. Ramalho, Pedro M. Borralho, Rui E. Castro, Susana Solá, Clifford J. Steer, Cecília M.P. Rodrigues

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62 Scopus citations


Early onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) is linked to autosomal dominant mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin 1 and 2 (PS1 and PS2) genes. These are critical mediators of total amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) production, inducing cell death through uncertain mechanisms. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) modulates exogenous Aβ-induced apoptosis by interfering with E2F-1/p53/Bax. Here, we used mouse neuroblastoma cells that express either wild-type APP, APP with the Swedish mutation (APPswe), or double-mutated human APP and PS1 (APPswe/ΔE9), all exhibiting increased Aβ production and aggregation. Cell viability was decreased in APPswe and APPswe/ΔE9 but was partially reversed by z-VAD.fmk. Nuclear fragmentation and caspase 2, 6 and 8 activation were also readily detected. TUDCA reduced nuclear fragmentation as well as caspase 2 and 6, but not caspase 8 activities. p53 activity, and Bcl-2 and Bax changes, were also modulated by TUDCA. Overexpression of p53, but not mutant p53, in wild-type and mutant neuroblastoma cells was sufficient to induce apoptosis, which, in turn, was reduced by TUDCA. In addition, inhibition of the phosphatidylinositide 3′-OH kinase pathway reduced TUDCA protection against p53-induced apoptosis. In conclusion, FAD mutations are associated with the activation of classical apoptotic pathways. TUDCA reduces p53-induced apoptosis and modulates expression of Bcl-2 family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1618
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Amyloid β-peptide
  • Apoptosis
  • Bile acids
  • Familial Alzheimer's disease
  • Neuroprotection


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