Dual-Specificity Protein Phosphatase 4 (DUSP4) Overexpression Improves Learning Behavior Selectively in Female 5xFAD Mice, and Reduces β-Amyloid Load in Males and Females

Allen L. Pan, Mickael Audrain, Emmy Sakakibara, Rajeev Joshi, Xiaodong Zhu, Qian Wang, Minghui Wang, Noam D. Beckmann, Eric E. Schadt, Sam Gandy, Bin Zhang, Michelle E. Ehrlich, Stephen R. Salton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent multiscale network analyses of banked brains from subjects who died of late-onset sporadic Alzheimer’s disease converged on VGF (non-acronymic) as a key hub or driver. Within this computational VGF network, we identified the dual-specificity protein phosphatase 4 (DUSP4) [also known as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase 2] as an important node. Importantly, DUSP4 gene expression, like that of VGF, is downregulated in postmortem Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brains. We investigated the roles that this VGF/DUSP4 network plays in the development of learning behavior impairment and neuropathology in the 5xFAD amyloidopathy mouse model. We found reductions in DUSP4 expression in the hippocampi of male AD subjects, correlating with increased CDR scores, and in 4-month-old female and 12–18-month-old male 5xFAD hippocampi. Adeno-associated virus (AAV5)-mediated overexpression of DUSP4 in 5xFAD mouse dorsal hippocampi (dHc) rescued impaired Barnes maze performance in females but not in males, while amyloid loads were reduced in both females and males. Bulk RNA sequencing of the dHc from 5-month-old mice overexpressing DUSP4, and Ingenuity Pathway and Enrichr analyses of differentially expressed genes (DEGs), revealed that DUSP4 reduced gene expression in female 5xFAD mice in neuroinflammatory, interferon-gamma (IFNγ), programmed cell death protein-ligand 1/programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-L1/PD-1), and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/MAPK pathways, via which DUSP4 may modulate AD phenotype with gender-specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3880
JournalCells
Volume11
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • disease-associated microglia
  • dual-specificity protein phosphatase 4
  • mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • neuroinflammation

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