Amyloid-β oligomers-induced mitochondrial dna repair impairment contributes to altered human neural stem cell differentiation

Jing Lu, Yi Li, Cristiana Mollinari, Enrico Garaci, Daniela Merlo, Gang Pei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Amyloid-β42 oligomers (Aβ42O), the proximate effectors of neurotoxicity observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), can induce mitochondrial oxidative stress and impair mitochondrial function besides causing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage. Aβ42O also regulate the proliferative and differentiative properties of stem cells. Objective: We aimed to study whether Aβ42O-induced mtDNA damage is involved in the regulation of stem cell differentiation. Method: Human iPSCs-derived neural stem cell (NSC) was applied to investigate the effect of Aβ42O on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA damage using mitoSOX staining and long-range PCR lesion assay, respectively. mtDNA repair activity was measured by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in vitro assay using mitochondria isolates and the expression and localization of NHEJ components were determined by Western blot and immunofluorescence assay. The expressions of Tuj-1 and GFAP, detected by immunofluorescence and qPCR, respectively, were examined as an index of neurons and astrocytes production. Results: We show that in NSC Aβ42O treatment induces ROS production and mtDNA damage and impairs DNA end joining activity. NHEJ components, such as Ku70/80, DNA-PKcs, and XRCC4, are localized in mitochondria and silencing of XRCC4 significantly exacerbates the effect of Aβ42O on mtDNA integrity. On the contrary, pre-treatment with Phytic Acid (IP6), which specifically stimulates DNA-PK-dependent end-joining, inhibits Aβ42O-induced mtDNA damage and neuronal differentiation alteration. Conclusion: Aβ42O-induced mtDNA repair impairment may change cell fate thus shifting human NSC differentiation toward an astrocytic lineage. Repair stimulation counteracts Aβ42O neurotoxicity, suggesting mtDNA repair pathway as a potential target for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-949
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Alzheimer Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Amyloid-β
  • Differentiation
  • DNA damage
  • DNA repair
  • Human neural stem cell
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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