Clusterin levels are increased in Alzheimer's disease and influence the regional distribution of Aβ

J Scott Miners, Polly Clarke, Seth Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Clusterin, also known as apoJ, is a lipoprotein abundantly expressed within the CNS. It regulates Aβ fibril formation and toxicity and facilitates amyloid-β (Aβ) transport across the blood-brain barrier. Genome-wide association studies have shown variations in the clusterin gene (CLU) to influence the risk of developing sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). To explore whether clusterin modulates the regional deposition of Aβ, we measured levels of soluble (NP40-extracted) and insoluble (guanidine-HCl-extracted) clusterin, Aβ40 and Aβ42 by sandwich ELISA in brain regions with a predilection for amyloid pathology - mid-frontal cortex (MF), cingulate cortex (CC), parahippocampal cortex (PH) - and regions with little or no pathology - thalamus (TH) and white matter (WM). Clusterin level was highest in regions with plaque pathology (MF, CC, PH and PC), approximately mirroring the regional distribution of Aβ. It was significantly higher in AD than controls, and correlated positively with Aβ42 and insoluble Aβ40. Soluble clusterin level rose significantly with severity of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), and in MF and PC regions was highest in APOE ε4 homozygotes. In the TH and WM (areas with little amyloid pathology) clusterin was unaltered in AD and did not correlate with Aβ level. There was a significant positive correlation between the concentration of clusterin and the regional levels of insoluble Aβ42; however, the molar ratio of clusterin:Aβ42 declined with insoluble Aβ42 level in a region-dependent manner, being lowest in regions with predilection for Aβ plaque pathology. Under physiological conditions clusterin reduces aggregation and promotes clearance of Aβ. Our findings indicate that in AD, clusterin increases, particularly in regions with most abundant Aβ, but because the increase does not match the rising level of Aβ42, the molar ratio of clusterin:Aβ42 in those regions falls, probably contributing to Aβ deposition within the tissue. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305–313
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Pathology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • clusterin
  • apoJ
  • amyloid-β
  • amyloid-β clearance
  • plaque
  • cerebral amyloid angiopathy

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