Dysregulation of TLR5 and TAM Ligands in the Alzheimer's Brain as Contributors to Disease Progression.
The hypothesis that accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) species in the brain represents a major event in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis still prevails; nevertheless, an array of additional pathological processes contributes to clinical presentation and disease progression. We sought to identify novel targets for AD within genes related to amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing, innate immune responses, and the catecholamine system. Through a series of bioinformatics analyses, we identified TLR5 and other genes involved in toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling as potential AD targets. It is believed that Aβ species induce activation of microglia and astrocytes in AD, with a negative impact on disease progression. The TAM (Tyro3, Axl, Mer) family of receptor tyrosine kinases plays pivotal roles in limiting inflammatory responses upon TLR stimulation, for which we further studied their implication in the TLR5 alterations observed in AD. We validated the up-regulation of TLR5 in the frontal cortex of moderate AD cases. In addition, we observed up-regulation of the TAM ligands protein S (PROS1), galectin-3 (LGALS3), and Tulp-1. Furthermore, we identified an association of the TAM ligand GAS6 with AD progression. In THP-1 cells, co-stimulation with Aβ and flagellin for 24 h induced up-regulation of TYRO3 and GAS6, which could be prevented by neutralization of TLR5. Our results underscore the role of TLR dysregulations in AD, suggesting the presence of an immunosuppressive response during moderate disease stages, and implicate TAM signaling in AD immune dysregulation.