Growing evidence indicates that astrocytes are tightly connected to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. However, the way in which astrocytes participate in AD initiation and progression remains to be clarified. Our previous data show that astrocytes engulf large amounts of aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) but are unable to successfully degrade the material. In this study, we aimed to evaluate how intracellular Aβ-accumulation affects the astrocytes over time. For this purpose, human induced pluripotent cell (hiPSC)-derived astrocytes were exposed to sonicated Aβ-fibrils and then cultured further for one week or ten weeks in Aβ-free medium. Cells from both time points were analyzed for lysosomal proteins and astrocyte reactivity markers and the media were screened for inflammatory cytokines. In addition, the overall health of cytoplasmic organelles was investigated by immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy. Our data demonstrate that long-term astrocytes retained frequent Aβ-inclusions that were enclosed within LAMP1-positive organelles and sustained markers associated with reactivity. Furthermore, Aβ-accumulation resulted in endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial swelling, increased secretion of the cytokine CCL2/MCP-1 and formation of pathological lipid structures. Taken together, our results provide valuable information of how intracellular Aβ-deposits affect astrocytes, and thereby contribute to the understanding of the role of astrocytes in AD progression.
Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.