Adiponectin-mimetic novel nonapeptide rescues aberrant neuronal metabolic-associated memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease

T. Ali, S.U. Rehman, A. Khan, H. Badshah, N.B. Abid, M.W. Kim*, M.H. Jo, S.S. Chung, H.G. Lee, B.P.F. Rutten, M.O. Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Recently, we and other researchers reported that brain metabolic disorders are implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive, devastating and incurable neurodegenerative disease. Hence, novel therapeutic approaches are urgently needed to explore potential and novel therapeutic targets/agents for the treatment of AD. The neuronal adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1) is an emerging potential target for intervention in metabolic-associated AD. We aimed to validate this hypothesis and explore in-depth the therapeutic effects of an osmotin-derived adiponectin-mimetic novel nonapeptide (Os-pep) on metabolic-associated AD. Methods We used an Os-pep dosage regimen (5 mu g/g, i.p., on alternating days for 45 days) for APP/PS1 in amyloid beta oligomer-injected, transgenic adiponectin knockout (Adipo-/-) and AdipoR1 knockdown mice. After behavioral studies, brain tissues were subjected to biochemical and immunohistochemical analyses. In separate cohorts of mice, electrophysiolocal and Golgi staining experiments were performed. To validate the in vivo studies, we used human APP Swedish (swe)/Indiana (ind)-overexpressing neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, which were subjected to knockdown of AdipoR1 and APMK with siRNAs, treated with Os-pep and other conditions as per the mechanistic approach, and we proceeded to perform further biochemical analyses. Results Our in vitro and in vivo results show that Os-pep has good safety and neuroprotection profiles and crosses the blood-brain barrier. We found reduced levels of neuronal AdipoR1 in human AD brain tissue. Os-pep stimulates AdipoR1 and its downstream target, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling, in AD and Adipo-/- mice. Mechanistically, in all of the in vivo and in vitro studies, Os-pep rescued aberrant neuronal metabolism by reducing neuronal insulin resistance and activated downstream insulin signaling through regulation of AdipoR1/AMPK signaling to consequently improve the memory functions of the AD and Adipo-/- mice, which was associated with improved synaptic function and long-term potentiation via an AdipoR1-dependent mechanism. Conclusion Our findings show that Os-pep activates AdipoR1/AMPK signaling and regulates neuronal insulin resistance and insulin signaling, which subsequently rescues memory deficits in AD and adiponectin-deficient models. Taken together, the results indicate that Os-pep, as an adiponectin-mimetic novel nonapeptide, is a valuable and promising potential therapeutic candidate to treat aberrant brain metabolism associated with AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021


  • Alzheimer&#8217
  • s disease (AD)
  • Brain metabolic disorders
  • Neuronal adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1)
  • Adiponectin-mimetic novel nonapeptide (Os-pep)
  • AdipoR1
  • AMPK signaling
  • Neuronal insulin resistance
  • Insulin signaling
  • Synaptic and memory deficits


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