Mutations in the presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 genes cosegregate with the majority of early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) pedigrees. We now document that the Aβ1-42(43)/Aβ1-40 ratio in the conditioned media of independent N2a cell lines expressing three FAD-linked PS1 variants is uniformly elevated relative to cells expressing similar levels of wild-type PS1. Similarly, the Aβ 1-42(43)/Aβ1-40 ratio is elevated in the brains of young transgenic animals coexpressing a chimeric amyloid precursor protein (APP) and an FAD-linked PS1 variant compared with brains of transgenic mice expressing APP alone or transgenic mice coexpressing wild-type human PS1 and APP. These studies provide compelling support for the view that one mechanism by which these mutant PS1 cause AD is by increasing the extracellular concentration of Aβ peptides terminating at 42(43), species that foster Aβ deposition.
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