Cytochrome c oxidase deficiency in neurons decreases both oxidative stress and amyloid formation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Hirokazu Fukui, Francisca Diaz, Sofia Garcia, Carlos T. Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Scopus citations


Defects in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase (COX) have been associated with Alzheimer's Disease, in which the age-dependent accumulation of β-amyloid plays an important role in synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration. To test the possibility that age-dependent decline in the mitochondrial respiratory function, especially COX activity, may participate in the formation and accumulation of β-amyloid, we generated mice expressing mutant amyloid precursor protein and mutant presenilin 1 in a neuron-specific COX-deficient background. A neuron-specific COX-deficient mouse was generated by the Cre-loxP system, in which the COX10 gene was deleted by a CamKIIα promoter-driven Cre-recombinase. COX10 is a farnesyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of heme a, required for COX assembly and function. These KO mice showed an age-dependent COX deficiency in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Surprisingly, COX10 KO mice exhibited significantly fewer amyloid plaques in their brains compared with the COX-competent transgenic mice. This reduction in amyloid plaques in the KO mouse was accompanied by a reduction in Aβ42 level, β-secretase activity, and oxidative damage. Likewise, production of reactive oxygen species from cells with partial COX activity was not elevated. Collectively, our results suggest that, contrary to previous models, a defect in neuronal COX does not increase oxidative damage nor predispose for the formation of amyloidgenic amyloid precursor protein fragments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14163-14168
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 28 2007



  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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