While amyloid-beta toxicity is mediated by oxidative stress and can be atte
nuated by antioxidants, the actual biochemical mechanism underlying neuroto
xicity remains to be established. However, since aggregated amyloid-beta ca
n interact with transition metals, such as iron, both in vitro and in vivo,
we suspected that bound iron might be the mediator of toxicity such that h
olo- and apo-amyloid would have differential effects on cellular viability.
Here we demonstrate that when amyloid-beta is pretreated with the iron che
lator deferoxamine, neuronal toxicity is significantly attenuated while con
versely, incubation of holo-amyloid-beta with excess free iron restores tox
icity to original levels. These data, taken together with the known sequela
e of amyloid-beta, suggest that the toxicity of amyloid-beta is mediated, a
t least in part, via redox-active iron that precipitates lipid peroxidation
and cellular oxidative stress. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.