ER stress is not elevated in the 5XFAD mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

Katherine R. Sadleir, Jelena Popovic, Robert Vassar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease mouse models that overexpress amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin 1 (PS1) form -amyloid (A) plaques, a hallmark Alzheimer’s disease lesion. It has been assumed that the neuroinflammation, synaptic dysfunction, neurodegeneration, and cognitive impairment observed in these mice are caused by cerebral A accumulation. However, it is also possible that accumulation of the overexpressed transmembrane proteins APP and PS1 in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) triggers chronic ER stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). The 5XFAD mouse, a widely used amyloid pathology model, overexpresses APP and PS1, displays aggressive amyloid pathology, and has been reported to exhibit ER stress. To systematically evaluate whether 5XFAD mice have increased ER stress, here we used biochemical approaches to assess a comprehensive panel of UPR markers. We report that APP and PS1 levels are 1.8- and 1.5-fold, respectively, of those in 5XFAD compared with nontransgenic brains, indicating that transgenes are not massively overexpressed in 5XFAD mice. Using immunoblotting, we quantified UPR protein levels in nontransgenic, 5XFAD, and 5XFAD;BACE1/ mice at 4, 6, and 9 months of age. Importantly, we did not observe elevation of the ER stress markers p-eIF2, ATF4, CHOP, p-IRE1, or BiP at any age in 5XFAD or 5XFAD;BACE1/ compared with nontransgenic mice. Despite lacking A generation, 5XFAD; BACE1/ mice still expressed APP and PS1 transgenes, indicating that their overexpression does not cause ER stress. These results reveal the absence of ER stress in 5XFAD mice, suggesting that artifactual phenotypes associated with overexpression-induced ER stress are not a concern in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18434-18443
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 30 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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