Quantifying biomarkers of cognitive dysfunction and neuronal network hyperexcitability in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease: Depletion of calcium-dependent proteins and inhibitory hippocampal remodeling
ABSTRACT High levels of Aβ impair neuronal function at least in part by disrupting normal synaptic transmission and causing dysfunction of neural networks. This network dysfunction includes abnormal synchronization of neuronal activity resulting in epileptiform activity. Over time, this aberrant network activity can lead to the depletion of calcium-dependent proteins, such as calbindin, Fos, and Arc, and compensatory inhibitory remodeling of hippocampal circuits, including GABAergic sprouting and ectopic expression of the inhibitory neuropeptide Y (NPY) in dentate granule cells. Here we present detailed protocols for detecting and quantifying these alterations in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by immunohistochemistry. These methods are useful as surrogate measures for detecting chronic aberrant network activity in models of AD and epilepsy. In addition, since we have found that the severity of these changes relates to the degree of Aβ-dependent cognitive impairments, the protocols are useful for quantifying biomarkers of cognitive impairment in mouse models of AD.
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) results in cognitive decline and altered network activity, but the mechanisms are unknown. We studied human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice, which simulate key aspects of AD. Electroencephalographic recordings in hAPP mice revealed spontaneous epileptiform discharges, indicating network hypersynchrony, primarily during reduced gamma oscillatory activity. Because this oscillatory rhythm is generated by inhibitory parvalbumin (PV) cells, network dysfunction in hAPP mice might arise from impaired PV cells. Supporting this hypothesis, hAPP mice and AD patients had decreased levels of the interneuron-specific and PV cell-predominant voltage-gated sodium channel subunit Nav1.1. Restoring Nav1.1 levels in hAPP mice by Nav1.1-BAC expression increased inhibitory synaptic activity and gamma oscillations and reduced hypersynchrony, memory deficits, and premature mortality. We conclude that reduced Nav1.1 levels and PV cell dysfunction critically contribute to abnormalities in oscillatory rhythms, network synchrony, and memory in hAPP mice and possibly in AD.Cell 04/2012; 149(3):708-21. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2012.02.046 · 33.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common neurodegenerative disorder, is a growing public health problem and still lacks effective treatments. Recent evidence suggests that microtubule-associated protein tau may mediate amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) toxicity by modulating the tyrosine kinase Fyn. We showed previously that tau reduction prevents, and Fyn overexpression exacerbates, cognitive deficits in human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice overexpressing Aβ. However, the mechanisms by which Aβ, tau, and Fyn cooperate in AD-related pathogenesis remain to be fully elucidated. Here we examined the synaptic and network effects of this pathogenic triad. Tau reduction prevented cognitive decline induced by synergistic effects of Aβ and Fyn. Tau reduction also prevented synaptic transmission and plasticity deficits in hAPP mice. Using electroencephalography to examine network effects, we found that tau reduction prevented spontaneous epileptiform activity in multiple lines of hAPP mice. Tau reduction also reduced the severity of spontaneous and chemically induced seizures in mice overexpressing both Aβ and Fyn. To better understand these protective effects, we recorded whole-cell currents in acute hippocampal slices from hAPP mice with and without tau. hAPP mice with tau had increased spontaneous and evoked excitatory currents, reduced inhibitory currents, and NMDA receptor dysfunction. Tau reduction increased inhibitory currents and normalized excitation/inhibition balance and NMDA receptor-mediated currents in hAPP mice. Our results indicate that Aβ, tau, and Fyn jointly impair synaptic and network function and suggest that disrupting the copathogenic relationship between these factors could be of therapeutic benefit.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 01/2011; 31(2):700-11. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4152-10.2011 · 6.75 Impact Factor