Exogenous application of β-amyloid (Aβ25—35, a fragment of Aβ1—42) significantly elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in C6 astroglioma cells, as measured by confocal microscopic analysis of H2O2-sensitive 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescin fluorescence. Subsequent characterization of the signalling pathway revealed that expression of RacN17, a dominant-negative Rac1 mutant, completely blocked Aβ25—35-induced generation of ROS, which is indicative of the crucial role played by Rac GTPase in this process. To better understand the downstream mediators affected by Rac, we assessed the degree to which inhibition of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) contributed to the response and found that inhibition of either enzyme completely blocked Aβ25—35-induced ROS generation, indicating its dependence on arachidonic acid synthesis and metabolism to leukotrienes (e.g. leukotriene B4). Consistent with those findings, Aβ25—35 Rac-dependently stimulated translocation of 5-LO to the nuclear envelope and increased intracellular levels of leukotriene B4, while exogenous application of leukotriene B4 increased intracellular H2O2 via BLT, its cell-surface receptor. In addition to the aforementioned downstream mediators, inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), an enzyme situated upstream of Rac, also completely blocked Aβ25—35-induced H2O2 generation. Our findings thus demonstrate that PI 3-kinase, Rac, cPLA2 and 5-LO are all essential components of the β-amyloid signaling cascade leading to generation of ROS.

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