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This article is the author’s final published version in Cerebral Circulation - Cognition and Behavior, Volume 2, May 2021, Article number 100014.

The published version is available at Copyright © Bihaqi et al.


Background: Vascular risk factors such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and elevated homocysteine levels are strongly correlated with onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Emerging evidence indicates that blood coagulation protein thrombin is associated with vascular and non-vascular risk factors of AD. Here, we examined the effect of thrombin and its direct inhibitor dabigatran on key mediators of neuro-inflammation and AD pathology in the retinoic acid (RA)-differentiated human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. Methods: SH-SY5Y cells exposed to thrombin concentrations (10–100 nM) +/- 250 nM dabigatran for 24 h were analyzed for protein and gene expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was used to determine DNA binding of NFkB. Western blotting, qRT-PCR and ELISA were used to measure the protein, mRNA, and activity levels of known AD hallmarks and signaling molecules. Results: Dabigatran treatment attenuated thrombin-induced increase in DNA binding of NFκB by 175% at 50 nM and by 77% at 100 nM thrombin concentration. Thrombin also augmented accumulation of Aβ protein expression and phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, a downstream molecule in the signaling cascade, expression of pro-apoptotic mediator caspase 3, APP, tTau and pTau. Additionally, thrombin increased BACE1 activity, GSK3β expression, and APP, BACE1, Tau and GSK3β mRNA levels. Co-incubation with dabigatran attenuated thrombin-induced increases in the protein, mRNA, and activities of the aforesaid molecules to various extents (between −31% and −283%). Conclusion: Our data demonstrates that thrombin promotes AD-related pathological changes in neuronal cultures and suggests that use of direct oral anticoagulants may provide a therapeutic benefit against thrombin-driven neuroinflammation and downstream pathology in AD.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.