Microglial cells internalize aggregates of the Alzheimer's disease amyloid β-protein via a scavenger receptor
Microglia are immune system cells associated with Alzheimer's disease plaques containing beta-amyloid (A beta). Murine microglia internalize microaggregates of fluorescently labeled or radioiodinated A beta peptide 1-42. Uptake was confirmed using aggregates of unlabeled A beta detected by immunofluorescence. Uptake of A beta was reduced by coincubation with excess acetyl-low density lipoprotein (Ac-LDL) or other scavenger receptor (SR) ligands, and Dil-labeled Ac-LDL uptake by microglia was blocked by excess A beta. CHO cells transfected with class A or B SRs showed significantly enhanced uptake of A beta. These results show that microglia express SRs that may play a significant role in the clearance of A beta plaques. Binding to SRs could activate inflammation responses that contribute to the pathology of Alzheimer's disease.