Chronic oral administration of adipoRon reverses cognitive impairments and ameliorates neuropathology in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model

Roy Chun Laam Ng, Min Jian, Oscar Ka Fai Ma, Myriam Bunting, Jason Shing Cheong Kwan, Guang Jie Zhou, Senthilkumar Krishnamoorthi, Ashok Iyaswamy, Ping Kei Chan, Min Li, Kenneth Mei Yee Leung, S S Kumar Durairajan, Karen Siu Ling Lam, Leung Wing Chu, Richard Festenstein, Sookja Kim Chung, Koon Ho Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating adiponectin (APN) levels decrease with age and obesity. On the other hand, a reduction in APN levels is associated with neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. We previously showed that aged adiponectin knockout (APN−/−) mice developed Alzheimer’s like pathologies, cerebral insulin resistance, and cognitive impairments. More recently, we also demonstrated that APN deficiency increased Aβ-induced microglia activation and neuroinflammatory responses in 5xFAD mice. There is compelling evidence that deregulated insulin activities or cerebral insulin resistance contributes to neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrated that APN levels were reduced in the brain of AD patients and 5xFAD mice. We crossbred 5xFAD mice with APN−/− mice to generate APN-deficient 5xFAD (5xFAD;APN−/−). APN deficiency in 5xFAD mice accelerated amyloid loading, increased cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and reduced insulin-signaling activities. Pharmacokinetics study demonstrated adipoRon (APN receptor agonist) was a blood–brain barrier penetrant. AdipoRon improved neuronal insulin-signaling activities and insulin sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. Chronic adipoRon treatment improved spatial memory functions and significantly rescued neuronal and synaptic loss in 5xFAD and 5xFAD;APN−/− mice. AdipoRon lowered plaque and Aβ levels in AD mice. AdipoRon also exerted anti-inflammatory effects by reducing microglial and astrocytes activation as well as suppressing cerebral cytokines levels. The microglial phagocytic activity toward Aβ was restored after adipoRon treatment. Our results indicated that adipoRon exerts multiple beneficial effects providing important therapeutic implications. We propose chronic adipoRon administration as a potential treatment for AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5669–5689
Number of pages21
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number10
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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