Effects of DDT on Amyloid Precursor Protein Levels and Amyloid Beta Pathology: Mechanistic Links to Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Aseel Eid, Isha Mhatre-Winters, Ferass M. Sammoura, Melissa K. Edler, Richard von Stein, Muhammad M. Hossain, Yoonhee Han, Miriam Lisci, Kristina Carney, Mary Konsolaki, Ronald P. Hart, Joan W. Bennett, Jason R. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The interaction of aging-related, genetic, and environmental factors is thought to contribute to the etiology of late-onset, sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We previously reported that serum levels of p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), a long-lasting metabolite of the organochlorine pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), were significantly elevated in patients with AD and associated with the risk of AD diagnosis. However, the mechanism by which DDT may contribute to AD pathogenesis is unknown. OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess effects of DDT exposure on the amyloid pathway in multiple in vitro and in vivo models. METHODS: Cultured cells (SH-SY5Y and primary neurons), transgenic flies overexpressing amyloid beta (Aβ), and C57BL/6J and 3xTG-AD mice were treated with DDT to assess impacts on the amyloid pathway. Real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, multiplex assay, western immu-noblotting and immunohistochemical methods were used to assess the effects of DDT on amyloid precursor protein (APP) and other contributors to amyloid processing and deposition. RESULTS: Exposure to DDT revealed significantly higher APP mRNA and protein levels in immortalized and primary neurons, as well as in wild-type and AD-models. This was accompanied by higher levels of secreted Aβ in SH-SY5Y cells, an effect abolished by the sodium channel antagonist tetrodotoxin. Transgenic flies and 3xTG-AD mice had more Aβ pathology following DDT exposure. Furthermore, loss of the synaptic markers synap-tophysin and PSD95 were observed in the cortex of the brains of 3xTG-AD mice. DISCUSSION: Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease risk involves contributions from genetic and environmental factors. Here, we used multiple model systems, including primary neurons, transgenic flies, and mice to demonstrate the effects of DDT on APP and its pathological product Aβ. These data, com-bined with our previous epidemiological findings, provide a mechanistic framework by which DDT exposure may contribute to increased risk of AD by impacting the amyloid pathway. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP10576.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number087005
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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