FTY720 decreases ceramides levels in the brain and prevents memory impairments in a mouse model of familial Alzheimer's disease expressing APOE4

Simone M Crivelli, Qian Luo, Daan van Kruining, Caterina Giovagnoni, Marina Mané-Damas, Sandra den Hoedt, Dusan Berkes, Helga E De Vries, Monique T Mulder, Jochen Walter, Etienne Waelkens, Rita Derua, Johannes V Swinnen, Jonas Dehairs, Erwin P M Wijnands, Erhard Bieberich, Mario Losen, Pilar Martinez-Martinez

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The protection mediated by the bioactive sphingolipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) declines during Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression, especially in patients carrying the apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) isoform. The drug FTY720 mimics S1P bioactivity, but its efficacy in treating AD is unclear. Two doses of FTY720 (0.1 mg / kg and 0.5 mg / kg daily) were given by oral gavage for 15 weeks to transgenic mouse models of familial AD carrying human apolipoprotein E (APOE) APOE3 (E3FAD) or APOE4 (E4FAD). After 12 weeks of treatment, animals were subjected to behavioral tests for memory, locomotion, and anxiety. Blood was withdrawn at different time points and brains were collected for sphingolipids analysis by mass spectrometry, gene expression by RT-PCR and Aβ quantification by ELISA. We discovered that low levels of S1P in the plasma is associated with a higher probability of failing the memory test and that FTY720 prevents memory impairments in E4FAD. The beneficial effect of FTY720 was induced by a shift of the sphingolipid metabolism in the brain towards a lower production of toxic metabolites, like ceramide d18:1/16:0 and d18:1/22:0, and reduction of amyloid-β burden and inflammation. In conclusion, we provide further evidence of the druggability of the sphingolipid system in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113240
Pages (from-to)113240
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Early online date9 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • 5xFAD
  • APOE3
  • APOE4
  • Anxiety
  • Ceramide
  • FTY720
  • Memory
  • S1P
  • Sphingomyelin

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