[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The loss of synapses is a strong histological correlate of the cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), a cleavage product of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), exerts detrimental effects on synapses, a process thought to be causally related to the cognitive deficits in AD. Here, we used in vivo two-photon microscopy to characterize the dynamics of axonal boutons and dendritic spines in APP/Presenilin 1 (APPswe/PS1L166P)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice. Time-lapse imaging over 4 weeks revealed a pronounced, concerted instability of pre- and postsynaptic structures within the vicinity of amyloid plaques. Treatment with a novel sulfonamide-type γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) attenuated the formation and growth of new plaques and, most importantly, led to a normalization of the enhanced dynamics of synaptic structures close to plaques. GSI treatment did neither affect spines and boutons distant from plaques in amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1-GFP (APPPS1-GFP) nor those in GFP-control mice, suggesting no obvious neuropathological side effects of the drug.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 24 September 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.122.
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