Pathologic accumulation of abnormally phosphorylated tau in neurofibrillary tangles is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies. Interleukin-1 beta is a major proinflammatory cytokine in the central nervous system that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of tauopathies as well as Alzheimer’s disease. To explore the role of chronic IL-1 beta overexpression in tauopathies in vivo we used an inducible model of IL-1 beta overexpression developed in our laboratory. The IL-1 beta (IL-1) mice bear a transcriptional stop flanked by LoxP elements upstream of a human IL-1 beta gene. Upon delivery of Cre, the IL-1 transgene is locally activated by excision of the stop sequence. The IL-1 mice were bred to JNPL3 (Tau) mice, which overexpress human tau with the P301L mutation. Expression of IL-1 beta was induced in the dentate gyrus of 8 to 8.5 month old progeny by stereotaxic injection of FIV-Cre. One and three months later, Tau/IL-1 mice demonstrated 2-4 fold increases in phospho-tau and glial activation. To attenuate IL-1 beta mediated inflammation, we reduced PGE2 production via pharmacological inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) with SC560 in Tau/IL-1 mice, and observed significant reductions in phospho-tau pathology and microglial activation. Further, we found upregulation in active forms of p38MAPK, which was significantly reduced in mice receiving SC560 treatment. Our results demonstrate that IL-1 beta has a direct exacerbating effect on tau pathology in vivo, and inhibiting COX-1 can reverse this. COX-1 inhibition can therefore serve as a valuable therapeutic strategy for tauopathies with an advanced inflammatory component.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience