Differential toxicity, conformation and morphology of typical initial aggregation states of Aβ1-42 and Aβpy3-42 beta-amyloids

Denise Galante, Alessandro Corsaro, Tullio Florio, Serena Vella, Aldo Pagano, Francesca Sbrana, Massimo Vassalli, Angelo Perico, Cristina D'Arrigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among the different species of water-soluble β-peptides (Aβ1-42, Aβ1-40 and N-terminal truncated Aβ-peptides), Aβpy3-42 is thought to play a relevant role in Alzheimer's pathogenesis due to its abundance, resistance to proteolysis, fast aggregation kinetics, dynamic structure and high neurotoxicity. To evaluate the specific structural characteristics and neurotoxicity of Aβpy3-42, we separated different aggregation states of Aβ1-42 and Aβpy3-42 using fast protein liquid chromatography, isolating in both cases three peaks that corresponded to sa (small), ma (medium) and la (large) aggregates. Conformational analysis, by circular dichroism showed a prevailing random coil conformation for sa and ma, and typical β-sheet conformation for la. AFM and TEM show differential structural features between the three aggregates of a given β-peptide and among the aggregate of the two β-peptides. The potential toxic effects of the different aggregates were evaluated using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells in the MTT reduction, in the xCELLigence System, and in the Annexin V binding experiments. In the case of Aβ1-42 the most toxic aggregate is la, while in the case of Aβpy3-42 both sa and la are equally toxic. Aβ aggregates were found to be internalized in the cells, as estimated by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy, with a higher effect observed for Aβpy3-42, showing a good correlation with the toxic effects. Together these experiments allowed the discrimination of the intermediate states more responsible of oligomer toxicity, providing new insights on the correlation between the aggregation process and the toxicity and confirming the peculiar role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease of Aβpy3-42 peptide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2093
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Aggregation process
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Beta-amyloids
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Oligomer states

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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