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Translational Neurodegeneration



Microglia-mediated neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not only a response to pathophysiological events, but also plays a causative role in neurodegeneration. Cytoplasmic cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CARS) is considered to be a stimulant for immune responses to diseases; however, it remains unknown whether CARS is involved in the pathogenesis of AD.


Postmortem human temporal cortical tissues at different Braak stages and AD patient-derived serum samples were used to investigate the changes of CARS levels in AD by immunocytochemical staining, real-time PCR, western blotting and ELISA. After that, C57BL/6J and APP/PS1 transgenic mice and BV-2 cell line were used to explore the role of CARS protein in memory and neuroinflammation, as well as the underlying mechanisms. Finally, the associations of morphological features among CARS protein, microglia and dense-core plaques were examined by immunocytochemical staining.


A positive correlation was found between aging and the intensity of CARS immunoreactivity in the temporal cortex. Both protein and mRNA levels of CARS were increased in the temporal cortex of AD patients. Immunocytochemical staining revealed increased CARS immunoreactivity in neurons of the temporal cortex in AD patients. Moreover, overexpression of CARS in hippocampal neurons induced and aggravated cognitive dysfunction in C57BL/6J and APP/PS1 mice, respectively, accompanied by activation of microglia and the TLR2/MyD88 signaling pathway as well as upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines. In vitro experiments showed that CARS treatment facilitated the production of proinflammatory cytokines and the activation of the TLR2/MyD88 signaling pathway of BV-2 cells. The accumulation of CARS protein occurred within dense-core Aβ plaques accompanied by recruitment of ameboid microglia. Significant upregulation of TLR2/MyD88 proteins was also observed in the temporal cortex of AD.


The findings suggest that the neuronal CARS drives neuroinflammation and induces memory deficits, which might be involved in the pathogenesis of AD.


Humans, Animals, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Alzheimer Disease, Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88, Neuroinflammatory Diseases, Toll-Like Receptor 2, Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Cytokines


The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40035-023-00394-6.



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