Excessive copper intake can lead to neurotoxicity, but there is a lack of comprehensive understanding on the potential impact of copper exposure especially at a low-dose on brain. We used 3xTg-AD mice to explore the potential neurotoxicity of chronic, low-dose copper treatment (0.13 ppm copper chloride in drinking water) on behavior and the brain hippocampal mitochondrial and nuclear proteome. Low-dose copper increased the spatial memory impairment of these animals, increased accumulation of intracellular amyloid 1–42 (Aβ1–42), decreased ATP content, increased the positive staining of 8-hydroxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker of DNA oxidative damage, and caused apoptosis and a decrease in synaptic proteins. Mitochondrial proteomic analysis by two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) revealed modulation of 24 hippocampal mitochondrial proteins (14 increased and 10 decreased) in copper-treated vs. untreated 3xTg-AD mice. Nuclear proteomic analysis revealed 43 modulated hippocampal nuclear proteins (25 increased and 18 decreased) in copper-treated 3xTg-AD vs. untreated mice. Classification of modulated mitochondrial and nuclear proteins included functional categories such as energy metabolism, synaptic-related proteins, DNA damage and apoptosis-related proteins, and oxidative stress-related proteins. Among these differentially expressed mitochondrial and nuclear proteins, nine proteins were abnormally expressed in both hippocampus mitochondria and nuclei, including electron transport chain-related proteins NADH dehydrogenase 1 alpha subcomplex subunit 10 (NDUAA), cytochrome b-c1 complex subunit Rieske (UCRI), cytochrome c oxidase subunit 5B (COX5B), and ATP synthase subunit d (ATP5H), glycolytic-related pyruvate kinase PKM (KPYM) and pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component subunit alpha (ODPA). Furthermore, we found coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an endogenous mitochondrial protective factor/antioxidant, modulated the expression of 12 differentially expressed hippocampal proteins (4 increased and 8 decreased), which could be classified in functional categories such as glycolysis and synaptic-related proteins, oxidative stress-related proteins, implying that CoQ10 improved synaptic function, suppress oxidative stress, and regulate glycolysis. For the proteomics study, we validated the expression of several proteins related to synapses, DNA and apoptosis. The data confirmed that synapsin-2, a synaptic-related protein, was significantly decreased in both mitochondria and nuclei of copper-exposed 3xTg-AD mice. In mitochondria, dynamin-1 (DYN1), an apoptosis-related proteins, was significantly decreased. In the cellular nuclei, paraspeckle protein 1 (PSPC1) and purin-rich element-binding protein alpha (Purα), two DNA damage-related proteins, were significantly decreased and increased, respectively. We conclude that low-dose copper exposure exacerbates the spatial memory impairment of 3xTg-AD mice and perturbs multiple biological/pathogenic processes by dysregulating the mitochondrial and nuclear proteome. Exposure to copper might therefore contribute to the evolution of AD.
- 3xTg-AD mice
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Mitochondrial/nuclear proteomics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis