Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Trisomy 21–induced dysregulation of microglial homeostasis in Alzheimer’s brains is mediated by USP25

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Science Advances  01 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 1, eabe1340
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe1340


Down syndrome (DS), caused by trisomy of chromosome 21, is the most significant risk factor for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD); however, underlying mechanisms linking DS and AD remain unclear. Here, we show that triplication of homologous chromosome 21 genes aggravates neuroinflammation in combined murine DS-AD models. Overexpression of USP25, a deubiquitinating enzyme encoded by chromosome 21, results in microglial activation and induces synaptic and cognitive deficits, whereas genetic ablation of Usp25 reduces neuroinflammation and rescues synaptic and cognitive function in 5×FAD mice. Mechanistically, USP25 deficiency attenuates microglia-mediated proinflammatory cytokine overproduction and synapse elimination. Inhibition of USP25 reestablishes homeostatic microglial signatures and restores synaptic and cognitive function in 5×FAD mice. In summary, we demonstrate an unprecedented role for trisomy 21 and pathogenic effects associated with microgliosis as a result of the increased USP25 dosage, implicating USP25 as a therapeutic target for neuroinflammation in DS and AD.

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