Clusters of hyperactive neurons near amyloid plaques in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT The neurodegeneration observed in Alzheimer's disease has been associated with synaptic dismantling and progressive decrease in neuronal activity. We tested this hypothesis in vivo by using two-photon Ca2+ imaging in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Although a decrease in neuronal activity was seen in 29% of layer 2/3 cortical neurons, 21% of neurons displayed an unexpected increase in the frequency of spontaneous Ca2+ transients. These "hyperactive" neurons were found exclusively near the plaques of amyloid beta-depositing mice. The hyperactivity appeared to be due to a relative decrease in synaptic inhibition. Thus, we suggest that a redistribution of synaptic drive between silent and hyperactive neurons, rather than an overall decrease in synaptic activity, provides a mechanism for the disturbed cortical function in Alzheimer's disease.
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ABSTRACT: Using expression profiles from postmortem prefrontal cortex samples of 624 dementia patients and non-demented controls, we investigated global disruptions in the co-regulation of genes in two neurodegenerative diseases, late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Huntington's disease (HD). We identified networks of differentially co-expressed (DC) gene pairs that either gained or lost correlation in disease cases relative to the control group, with the former dominant for both AD and HD and both patterns replicating in independent human cohorts of AD and aging. When aligning networks of DC patterns and physical interactions, we identified a 242-gene subnetwork enriched for independent AD/HD signatures. This subnetwork revealed a surprising dichotomy of gained/lost correlations among two inter-connected processes, chromatin organization and neural differentiation, and included DNA methyltransferases, DNMT1 and DNMT3A, of which we predicted the former but not latter as a key regulator. To validate the inter-connection of these two processes and our key regulator prediction, we generated two brain-specific knockout (KO) mice and show that Dnmt1 KO signature significantly overlaps with the subnetwork (P = 3.1 × 10−12), while Dnmt3a KO signature does not (P = 0.017).Molecular Systems Biology 07/2014; 10(7). DOI:10.15252/msb.20145304 · 14.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of age-related dementia, which is thought to result from overproduction and/or reduced clearance of amyloid-beta (A β ) peptides. Studies over the past few decades suggest that A β is produced in an activity-dependent manner and has physiological relevance to normal brain functions. Similarly, physiological functions for β - and γ -secretases, the two key enzymes that produce A β by sequentially processing the amyloid precursor protein (APP), have been discovered over recent years. In particular, activity-dependent production of A β has been suggested to play a role in homeostatic regulation of excitatory synaptic function. There is accumulating evidence that activity-dependent immediate early gene Arc is an activity "sensor," which acts upstream of A β production and triggers AMPA receptor endocytosis to homeostatically downregulate the strength of excitatory synaptic transmission. We previously reported that Arc is critical for sensory experience-dependent homeostatic reduction of excitatory synaptic transmission in the superficial layers of visual cortex. Here we demonstrate that mice lacking the major neuronal β -secretase, BACE1, exhibit a similar phenotype: stronger basal excitatory synaptic transmission and failure to adapt to changes in visual experience. Our results indicate that BACE1 plays an essential role in sensory experience-dependent homeostatic synaptic plasticity in the neocortex.Neural Plasticity 05/2014; 2014:128631. DOI:10.1155/2014/128631 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cell death and synapse dysfunction are two likely causes of cognitive decline in AD. As cells die and synapses lose their drive, remaining cells suffer an initial decrease in activity. Neuronal homeostatic synaptic scaling then provides a feedback mechanism to restore activity. This homeostatic mechanism is believed to sense levels of activity-dependent cytosolic calcium within the cell and to adjust neuronal firing activity by increasing the density of AMPA synapses at remaining synapses to achieve balance. The scaling mechanism increases the firing rates of remaining cells in the network to compensate for decreases in network activity. However, this effect can itself become a pathology, as it produces increased imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory circuits, leading to greater susceptibility to further cell loss via calcium-mediated excitotoxicity. Here, we present a mechanistic explanation of how directed brain stimulation might be expected to slow AD progression based on computational simulations in a 470-neuron biomimetic model of a neocortical column. The simulations demonstrate that the addition of low-intensity electrostimulation (neuroprosthesis) to a network undergoing AD-like cell death can raise global activity and break this homeostatic-excitotoxic cascade. The increase in activity within the remaining cells in the column results in lower scaling-driven AMPAR upregulation, reduced imbalances in excitatory and inhibitory circuits, and lower susceptibility to ongoing damage.Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 04/2014; 8:39. DOI:10.3389/fncom.2014.00039 · 2.23 Impact Factor