Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Formononetin could increase soluble-APPα secretion by up-regulating ADAM10 level


Formononetin, which is used as neuroprotective medicine, was reported to have benefits for Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, little is known on how Formononetin exerts these beneficial effects. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms through which Formononetin increased soluble-APPα (sAPPα) secretion and thus was neuroprotective in human-APP Swedish mutation cell cultures (N2a-APP cell).

Method and results

By using N2a-APP cell cultures combined with hypoxia treatment, we confirmed that chronic treatment with Formononetin could have neuroprotective effects, which was followed by reduced and increased Caspase3 activity and cell viability. Strikingly, our data revealed that the Caspase3-blocking effect of Formononetin was largely mediated by stimulation of α-secretase cleavage of APP, resulting in increased secretion of its soluble form, sAPPα. Moreover, the protective effect of Formononetin was totally inhibited by TAPI-2, an α-secretase complex inhibitor, suggesting the role of the sAPPα pathway in the neuroprotective response to Formononetin. Furthermore, we also revealed that the stimulation effect of Formononetin on α-secretase activity was mainly a result of up-regulating ADAM10 expression at the transcriptional level.


Altogether, our study provides novel insights into how Formononetin mediated stimulation of the ADAM10-sAPPα pathway and resulting neuronal protective effect.


We thank Dr. Sangram S. Sisodia (University of Chicago, Chicago) for providing Mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells stably expressing PS1wt and APPsw. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC; Grants No.30973145), Doctoral Fund of Ministry of Education (20090001110058) and the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (973 Program, No. 2012CB911004).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dehua Chui.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zhou, T., Shun, M., Zhou, L. et al. Formononetin could increase soluble-APPα secretion by up-regulating ADAM10 level. Mol Neurodegeneration 7 (Suppl 1), O10 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: