Neuronal α-amylase is important for neuronal activity and glycogenolysis and reduces in presence of amyloid beta pathology

Elin Byman, Isak Martinsson, Henriette Haukedal, , Gunnar Gouras, Kristine K Freude, Malin Wennström

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Recent studies indicate a crucial role for neuronal glycogen storage and degradation in memory formation. We have previously identified alpha-amylase (α-amylase), a glycogen degradation enzyme, located within synaptic-like structures in CA1 pyramidal neurons and shown that individuals with a high copy number variation of α-amylase perform better on the episodic memory test. We reported that neuronal α-amylase was absent in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and that this loss corresponded to increased AD pathology. In the current study, we verified these findings in a larger patient cohort and determined a similar reduction in α-amylase immunoreactivity in the molecular layer of hippocampus in AD patients. Next, we demonstrated reduced α-amylase concentrations in oligomer amyloid beta 42 (Aβ42 ) stimulated SH-SY5Y cells and neurons derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) with PSEN1 mutation. Reduction of α-amylase production and activity, induced by siRNA and α-amylase inhibitor Tendamistat, respectively, was further shown to enhance glycogen load in SH-SY5Y cells. Both oligomer Aβ42 stimulated SH-SY5Y cells and hiPSC neurons with PSEN1 mutation showed, however, reduced load of glycogen. Finally, we demonstrate the presence of α-amylase within synapses of isolated primary neurons and show that inhibition of α-amylase activity with Tendamistat alters neuronal activity measured by calcium imaging. In view of these findings, we hypothesize that α-amylase has a glycogen degrading function within synapses, potentially important in memory formation. Hence, a loss of α-amylase, which can be induced by Aβ pathology, may in part underlie the disrupted memory formation seen in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e13433
JournalAging Cell
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021


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