Soluble A beta Oligomers Inhibit Long-Term Potentiation through a Mechanism Involving Excessive Activation of Extrasynaptic NR2B-Containing NMDA Receptors

Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 05/2011; 31(18):6627-38. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0203-11.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia severity correlates strongly with decreased synapse density in hippocampus and cortex. Numerous studies report that hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) can be inhibited by soluble oligomers of amyloid β-protein (Aβ), but the synaptic elements that mediate this effect remain unclear. We examined field EPSPs and whole-cell recordings in wild-type mouse hippocampal slices. Soluble Aβ oligomers from three distinct sources (cultured cells, AD cortex, or synthetic peptide) inhibited LTP, and this was prevented by the selective NR2B inhibitors ifenprodil and Ro 25-6981. Soluble Aβ enhanced NR2B-mediated NMDA currents and extrasynaptic responses; these effects were mimicked by the glutamate reuptake inhibitor dl-threo-β-benzyloxyaspartic acid. Downstream, an Aβ-mediated rise in p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation was followed by downregulation of cAMP response element-binding protein, and LTP impairment was prevented by inhibitors of p38 MAPK or calpain. Thus, soluble Aβ oligomers at low nanomolar levels present in AD brain increase activation of extrasynaptic NR2B-containing receptors, thereby impairing synaptic plasticity.

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