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Massieu, L; Mercado-Gomez, O; Hernandez-Fonseca, K; Villavicencio-Queijeiro, A; Chimal-Monroy, J; Arias, C (2008)

INHIBITION OF WNT AND PI3K SIGNALING MODULATES GSK-3 BETA ACTIVITY AND INDUCES MORPHOLOGICAL CHANGES IN CORTICAL NEURONS: ROLE OF TAU PHOSPHORYLATION

NEUROCHEM RES 33(8):1599-1609
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Glycogen synthase kinase GSK-3 beta has been identified as one of the major candidates mediating tau hyperphosphorylation at the same sites as those present in tau protein in brain from Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. However, the signal transduction pathways involved in the abnormal activation of GSK-3 beta, have not been completely elucidated. GSK-3 beta activity is repressed by the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, but it is also modulated through the PI3K/Akt route. Recent studies have suggested that Wnt signaling might be involved in the pathophysiology of AD. On the other hand, modulators of the PI3K pathway might be reduced during aging leading to a sustained activation of GSK-3 beta, which in turn would increase the risk of tau hyperphosphorylation. The role of Wnt and PI3K signaling inhibition on the extent of tau phosphorylation and neuronal morphology has not been completely elucidated. Thus, in the present investigation we analyzed the effects of different negative modulators of the Wnt and the PI3K pathways on GSK-3 beta activation and phosphorylation of tau at the PHF-1 epitope in cortical cultured neurons and hippocampal slices from adult rat brain. Changes in the microtubule network were also studied. We found that a variety of Wnt and PI3K inhibitors, significantly increased tau phosphorylation at the PHF-1 site, induced the disarrangement of the microtubule network and the accumulation of tau within cell bodies. These changes correlated with alterations in neuronal morphology.