Enhanced defense against ferroptosis ameliorates cognitive impairment and reduces neurodegeneration in 5xFAD mice

Liuji Chen, Nawab John Dar, Ren Na, Kirsten Danae McLane, Kwangsun Yoo, Xianlin Han, Qitao Ran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Oxidative damage including lipid peroxidation is widely reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD) with the peroxidation of phospholipids in membranes being the driver of ferroptosis, an iron-dependent oxidative form of cell death. However, the importance of ferroptosis in AD remains unclear. This study tested whether ferroptosis inhibition ameliorates AD. 5xFAD mice, a widely used AD mouse model with cognitive impairment and robust neurodegeneration, exhibit markers of ferroptosis including increased lipid peroxidation, elevated lyso-phospholipids, and reduced level of Gpx4, the master defender against ferroptosis. To determine if enhanced defense against ferroptosis retards disease development, we generated 5xFAD mice that overexpress Gpx4, i.e., 5xFAD/GPX4 mice. Consistent with enhanced defense against ferroptosis, neurons from 5xFAD/GPX4 mice showed an augmented capacity to reduce lipid reactive oxygen species. In addition, compared with control 5xFAD mice, 5xFAD/GPX4 mice showed significantly improved learning and memory abilities and had reduced neurodegeneration. Moreover, 5xFAD/GPX4 mice exhibited attenuated markers of ferroptosis. Our results indicate that enhanced defense against ferroptosis is effective in ameliorating cognitive impairment and decreasing neurodegeneration of 5xFAD mice. The findings support the notion that ferroptosis is a key contributor to AD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 20 2022


  • 5xFAD mice
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognition impairment
  • Ferroptosis
  • Gpx4
  • Lipid peroxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Biochemistry


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