Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is caused by many intertwining pathologies involving metabolic aberrations. Patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) generally show hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, which can lead to the formation of aldehydic adducts such as acrolein on peptides in the brain and blood. However, the pathogenesis from MetS to AD remains elusive. Methods: An AD cell model expressing Swedish and Indiana amyloid precursor protein (APP-Swe/Ind) in neuro-2a cells and a 3xTg-AD mouse model were used. Human serum samples (142 control and 117 AD) and related clinical data were collected. Due to the involvement of MetS in AD, human samples were grouped into healthy control (HC), MetS-like, AD with normal metabolism (AD-N), and AD with metabolic disturbance (AD-M). APP, amyloid-beta (Aß), and acrolein adducts in the samples were analyzed using immunofluorescent microscopy, histochemistry, immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, and/or ELISA. Synthetic Aß1-16 and Aß17-28 peptides were modified with acrolein in vitro and verified using LC–MS/MS. Native and acrolein-modified Aß peptides were used to measure the levels of specific autoantibodies IgG and IgM in the serum. The correlations and diagnostic power of potential biomarkers were evaluated. Results: An increased level of acrolein adducts was detected in the AD model cells. Furthermore, acrolein adducts were observed on APP C-terminal fragments (APP-CTFs) containing Aß in 3xTg-AD mouse serum, brain lysates, and human serum. The level of acrolein adducts was correlated positively with fasting glucose and triglycerides and negatively with high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, which correspond with MetS conditions. Among the four groups of human samples, the level of acrolein adducts was largely increased only in AD-M compared to all other groups. Notably, anti-acrolein-Aß autoantibodies, especially IgM, were largely reduced in AD-M compared to the MetS group, suggesting that the specific antibodies against acrolein adducts may be depleted during pathogenesis from MetS to AD. Conclusions: Metabolic disturbance may induce acrolein adduction, however, neutralized by responding autoantibodies. AD may be developed from MetS when these autoantibodies are depleted. Acrolein adducts and the responding autoantibodies may be potential biomarkers for not only diagnosis but also immunotherapy of AD, especially in complication with MetS.
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