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Age and Gender Differences for the Behavioral Phenotypes of 3xTg Alzheimer's Disease mice

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Abstract

The triple transgenic Alzheimer’s disease (3xTg-AD) strain is a common mouse model used for studying the pathology and mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The 3xTg-AD strain exhibits two hallmarks of AD, amyloid beta (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles. Several studies using different gender and age of 3xTg-AD mice to investigate their behavior phenotypes under the influence of various treatments have reported mixed results. Therefore, a comprehensive investigation on the optimal gender, age, and training paradigms used for behavioral studies of 3xTg-AD is necessary. In the present study, we investigated the behavioral phenotypes for the two genders of 3xTg-AD mice at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months old and compared the results with age-, gender-matched C57BL/6N control strain. All mice were subjected to tail flick, pinprick, open field, elevated plus maze, passive avoidance, and trace fear conditioning (TFC) tests to evaluate their sensory, locomotor, anxiety, and learning/memory functions. The results showed that TFC on male 3xTg-AD mice is optimal for studying the memory performance of AD. The sensory and locomotor functions of 3xTg-AD mice for two genders appear to be normal up to 6 months old, their fear memory starts to decline after that, and the difference between male control and 3xTg-AD mice in contextual and cued memories are robust, thus ideal for evaluating the effect of a treatment. Since it is time and cost consuming to obtain wildtype littermates as controls, C57BL/6N strain is suggested to be used as control mice for their baseline performance of sensorimotor functions similar to that of 3xTg-AD mice.

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Several transgenic animal models genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology have been engineered to facilitate the study of disease pathophysiology and the vetting of potential disease-modifying therapeutics. The triple transgenic mouse model of AD (3xTg-AD) harbors three AD-related genetic loci: human PS1M146V, human APPswe, and human tauP301L. These mice develop both amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangle-like pathology in a progressive and age-dependent manner, while these pathological hallmarks are predominantly restricted to the hippocampus, amygdala, and the cerebral cortex the main foci of AD neuropathology in humans. This model represents, at present, one of the most advanced preclinical tools available and is being employed ever increasingly in the study of mechanisms underlying AD, yet a detailed regional and temporal assessment of the subtleties of disease-related pathologies has not been reported. In this study, we immunohistochemically documented the evolution of AD-related transgene expression, amyloid deposition, tau phosphorylation, astrogliosis, and microglial activation throughout the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, primary motor cortex, and amygdala over a 26-month period in male 3xTg-AD mice. Intracellular amyloid-beta accumulation is detectable the earliest of AD-related pathologies, followed temporally by phospho-tau, extracellular amyloid-beta, and finally paired helical filament pathology. Pathology appears to be most severe in medial and caudal hippocampus. While astrocytic staining remains relatively constant at all ages and regions assessed, microglial activation appears to progressively increase temporally, especially within the hippocampal formation. These data fulfill an unmet need in the ever-widening community of investigators studying 3xTg-AD mice and provide a foundation upon which to design future experiments that seek to examine stage-specific disease mechanisms and/or novel therapeutic interventions for AD.
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The elevated plus maze is a widely used behavioral assay for rodents and it has been validated to assess the anti-anxiety effects of pharmacological agents and steroid hormones, and to define brain regions and mechanisms underlying anxiety-related behavior. Briefly, rats or mice are placed at the junction of the four arms of the maze, facing an open arm, and entries/duration in each arm are recorded by a video-tracking system and observer simultaneously for 5 min. Other ethological parameters (i.e., rears, head dips and stretched-attend postures) can also be observed. An increase in open arm activity (duration and/or entries) reflects anti-anxiety behavior. In our laboratory, rats or mice are exposed to the plus maze on one occasion; thus, results can be obtained in 5 min per rodent.
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Mechanisms underlying the protective effect of exercise training against the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are not fully understood. This study investigated the effects of treadmill running on Aβ plaque burden and hyper-phosphorylated tau protein, neuro-inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and adult neurogenesis markers in conjunction with cognitive impairments in triple transgenic AD (3xTg-AD) mice. At age of three months, the 3xTg-AD mice were assigned to control (AD, n = 10) or exercise training (AD-EXE, n = 10). The AD-EXE mice were trained on a rodent motor-driven treadmill with a frequency of 5 days per week for 12 weeks. As a consequence, AD-EXE mice had lower levels of Aβ plaque burden and neuro-inflammation, positive changes in mitochondrial function toward a more robust phenotype, and increases in hippocampal adult neurogenesis markers in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex compared to AD mice. The alleviating effects of treadmill running against the progression of the disease were accompanied by enhanced AD-like cognitive performances based on Morris water maze. The current findings support and extend previous studies reporting the protective effect of physical exercise against the progression of the disease in AD animal models.
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The 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has both amyloid beta plaque and tau tangle pathology. However, the results of behavioural testing with these mice have been inconsistent due to age- and sex-related differences, as well as differences in the difficulty of the tests used to measure cognitive function. In order to better understand the sex- and age-related spatial working memory deficits in the 3xTg-AD mice compared to their B6129S/F2 wildtype controls, we tested 4 and 7-month-old males and females and 13-month-old females in the Hebb-Williams maze. In the acquisition phase, the 3xTg-AD mice performed better than the WT controls, but the females of both genotypes showed motivational deficits; often returning to the start box and not eating the food reward, thus taking longer than males to meet the criterion for acquisition. The 3xTg-AD mice showed more working memory deficits than WT mice during the test phase, and the difference increased as the problems increased in difficulty. The results of this study indicate that female 3xTg-AD mice may have motivational deficits in tests using food reward and that the cognitive deficits of the 3xTg-AD mice are not apparent when the tests are too easy; the more difficult the task, the more deficits are shown in the 3xTg-AD mice compared to WT controls. Thus, the inconsistency in previous results may result from differences in motivation and in test difficulty and these must be considered when evaluating cognitive deficits in the 3xTg-AD mice.
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The endocannabinoid system, which modulates emotional learning and memory through CB1 receptors, has been found to be deregulated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is characterized by a progressive decline in memory associated with selective impairment of cholinergic neurotransmission. The functional interplay of endocannabinoid and muscarinic signaling was analyzed in seven-month-old 3xTg-AD mice following the evaluation of learning and memory of an aversive stimulus. Neurochemical correlates were simultaneously studied with both receptor and functional autoradiography for CB1 and muscarinic receptors, and regulations at the cellular level were depicted by immunofluorescence. 3xTg-AD mice exhibited increased acquisition latencies and impaired memory retention compared to age-matched non-transgenic mice. Neurochemical analyses showed changes in CB1 receptor density and functional coupling of CB1 and muscarinic receptors to Gi/o proteins in several brain areas, highlighting that observed in the basolateral amygdala. The subchronic (seven days) stimulation of the endocannabinoid system following repeated WIN55,212-2 (1 mg/kg) or JZL184 (8 mg/kg) administration induced a CB1 receptor downregulation and CB1-mediated signaling desensitization, normalizing acquisition latencies to control levels. However, the observed modulation of cholinergic neurotransmission in limbic areas did not modify learning and memory outcomes. A CB1 receptor-mediated decrease of GABAergic tone in the basolateral amygdala may be controlling the limbic component of learning and memory in 3xTg-AD mice. CB1 receptor desensitization may be a plausible strategy to improve behavior alterations associated with genetic risk factors for developing AD.
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Rodent spatial memory is commonly tested using the water-maze; however, there is a potential confound of stress on learning in this behavioural paradigm. This is particularly relevant when testing spatial memory in models of neurodegeneration, such as the 3xTg mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we first confirmed that 3xTgAD mice express fear conditioning and then compared the performance of young and middle-aged mice on short-duration versions of the radial arm water-maze (RAWM) and the minimally stressful T-maze spontaneous alternation task. Our main questions were: (1) does the reliance on stressors in water-maze training mask the true cognitive ability of 3xTgAD mice; and (2) are 3xTgAD mice similarly impaired in water-maze and T-maze protocols. Firstly, male and female 3xTgAD mice displayed intact freezing responses in both contextual and Pavlovian fear conditions. As male 3xTgAD mice displayed relatively enhanced fear responses the remaining tests were performed using only female 3xTgAD and control mice in order to equate for response to stressors. We found that alternation rates after both short and long delays were impaired at both ages in female 3xTgAD mice, indicative of robust spatial working memory deficits. For RAWM, again performance deficits were found in young 3xTgAD mice. As both tasks had similar efficacy at revealing early spatial memory deficits, we suggest that spontaneous behavioural protocols be prioritised over water maze testing in models such the 3xTgAD mouse as the former provide a far less stressful but equally effective alternative.
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Central cholinergic neurotransmission has an essential part in the learning and memory pathways. Being the precursor of acetylcholine (ACh), choline is particularly associated with attention, learning and memory functions. The production and release of ACh in brain can be facilitated via increased availability of free choline. Therefore, the current study was aimed to determine the correlation between choline supplementation-induced memory improvement and brain acetylcholine content. Two groups of rats (n=6) were orally administered with tap water (Control Group) and aqueous solution of choline bitartarate (Test group) respectively for a period of five (5) weeks. Cognitive performance was assessed by using behavioral tests include Novel object recognition test, Morris water maze test and Passive avoidance test to evaluate the changes in learning and memory performances. After behavioral analysis rats were decapitated and their brain samples were collected for estimation of acetylcholine levels. Following chronic administration of choline bitartarate powder improvements in recognition, associative and spatial memory performance was observed as compared to control group. Levels of acetylcholine were also increased in brain following choline supplementation. Improvements in learning and memory performances along with neurochemical alterations following chronic administration of choline bitartarate suggest that choline significantly improved the cognitive performances via enhancing the brain acetylcholine levels so it might be used as an effective therapy for neurological disorders affecting learning and memory performance.
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Despite the impact of pain in cognitive dysfunctions and affective disorders has been largely studied, the research that examines pain dimensions in cognitive impairment or dementia is still scarce. In patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias, management of pain is challenging. While the sensory-discriminative dimension of pain is preserved, the cognitive-evaluative and the affective-motivational pain dimensions are affected. Due to the complexity of the disease and the poor self-reports, pain is underdiagnosed and undertreated. In confluence with an impaired thermoregulatory behavior, the patients' ability to confront environmental stressors such as cold temperature can put them at risk of fatal accidental hypothermia. Here, 3xTg-AD mice demonstrate that the sensorial-discriminative threshold to a noxious cold stimulus, as measured by the latency of tail-flicking, was preserved at early and advances stages of disease (7 and 11 month-old, respectively) as compared to age-matched (adulthood and middle aged, respectively) non-transgenic mice (NTg). In both genotypes, the sensory deterioration and poor thermoregulatory behavior associated to age was observed as an increase of tail-flick response and poor sensorimotor performance. At both stages studied, 3xTg-AD mice exhibited BPSD (Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia)-like alterations in the corner, open-field, dark-light box and the T-maze tests. In the adult NTg mice, this nociceptive withdrawal response was correlated with copying with stress-related behaviors. This integrative behavioral profile was lost in both groups of 3xTg-AD mice and middle aged controls, suggesting derangements in their subjacent networks and the complex interplay between the pain dimensions in the elderly with dementia. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia among the elderly, is characterized by the progressive decline of cognitive function. Increasing evidence indicates that the production and accumulation of amyloid β (Aβ), particularly soluble Aβ oligomers, is central to the pathogenesis of AD. Our recent studies have demonstrated that nobiletin, a polymethoxylated flavone from citrus peels, ameliorates learning and memory impairment in olfactory-bulbectomized mice, amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice, NMDA receptor antagonist-treated mice, and senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8. Here, we present evidence that this natural compound improves cognitive impairment and reduces soluble Aβ levels in a triple transgenic mouse model of AD (3XTg-AD) that progressively develops amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and cognitive impairments. Treatment with nobiletin (30mg/kg) for 3 months reversed the impairment of short-term memory and recognition memory in 3XTg-AD mice. Our ELISA analysis also showed that nobiletin reduced the levels of soluble Aβ1-40 in the brain of 3XTg-AD mice. Furthermore, nobiletin reduced ROS levels in the hippocampus of 3XTg-AD as well as wild-type mice. These results suggest that this natural compound has potential to become a novel drug for the treatment and prevention of AD. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Article
Which behavioral test is the most sensitive for detecting cognitive deficits in the 3xTg-AD at 6.5 months of age? The 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has three transgenes (APPswe, PS1M146V, and Tau P301L) which cause the development of amyloid beta plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and cognitive deficits with age. In order to determine which task is the most sensitive in the early detection of cognitive deficits, we compared male and female 3xTg-AD and B6129SF2 wildtype mice at 6.5 months of age on a test battery including spontaneous alternation in the Y-Maze, novel object recognition, spatial memory in the Barnes maze, and cued and contextual fear conditioning. The 3xTg-AD mice had impaired learning and memory in the Barnes maze but performed better than B6129SF2 wildtype mice in the Y-Maze and in contextual fear conditioning. Neither genotype demonstrated a preference in the novel object recognition task nor was there a genotype difference in cued fear conditioning but females performed better than males. From our results we conclude that the 3xTg-AD mice have mild cognitive deficits in spatial learning and memory and that the Barnes maze was the most sensitive test for detecting these cognitive deficits in 6.5 month old mice. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Article
The 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15LO) enzyme is widely distributed within the central nervous system. Previous work showed that this protein is upregulated in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and plays an active role in the development of brain amyloidosis in amyloid beta (Aβ)-precursor protein transgenic mice (Tg2576). In the present paper, we studied the effect of its pharmacologic inhibition on the AD-like phenotype of a mouse model with plaques and tangles, the triple-transgenic mice. Compared with mice receiving placebo, the group treated with PD146176, a specific 12/15LO inhibitor, manifested a significant improvement of their memory deficits. The same animals had a significant reduction in Aβ levels and deposition, which was secondary to a decrease in the β-secretase pathway. In addition, while total tau-soluble levels were unchanged for both groups, PD146176-treated mice had a significant reduction in its phosphorylation state and insoluble fraction, which specifically associated with decrease in stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase activity. In vitro study showed that the effect on tau and Aβ were independent from each other. These data establish a functional role for 12/15LO in the pathogenesis of the full spectrum of the AD-like phenotype and represent the successful completion of the initial step for the preclinical development of 12/15LO inhibitors as novel therapeutic agents for AD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 6 January 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.170.
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Significant insights into the function of genes associated with Alzheimer disease and related dementias have occurred through studying genetically modified animals. Although none of the existing models fully reproduces the complete spectrum of this insidious human disease, critical aspects of Alzheimer pathology and disease processes can be experimentally recapitulated. Genetically modified animal models have helped advance our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease and have proven to be invaluable in the preclinical evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions. Continuing refinement and evolution to yield the next generation of animal models will facilitate successes in producing greater translational concordance between preclinical studies and human clinical trials and eventually lead to the introduction of novel therapies into clinical practice.
Article
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with associated memory loss, spatial disorientation, and other psychiatric problems. Cholinergic system dysfunction is an early and salient feature of AD, and enhancing cholinergic signaling with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors is currently the primary strategy for improving cognition. The beneficial effects of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, however, are typically short-lived and accompanied by adverse effects. Recent evidence suggests that activating α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7 nAChR) may facilitate the specific modulation of brain cholinergic signaling, leading to cognitive enhancement and possibly to amelioration of AD pathologic findings. In the present study, we determined the effect of long-term treatment with the selective α7 nAChR agonist A-582941 in aged 3xTg-AD mice with robust AD-like pathology, which is particularly significant not only because this is the only mouse model that co-develops amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles but also because it enabled us to explore whether A-582941 is able to restore brain function after the severe damage associated with AD. Analysis of β-amyloid deposits, tau phosphorylation, and inflammatory cells revealed that, overall, pathologic findings were unchanged. Rather, α7 nAChR activation induced expression of c-Fos and brain-derived neurotrophic factor and phosphorylation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding and neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase type 2. More important, A-582941 completely restored cognition in aged 3xTg-AD mice to the level of that in age-matched nontransgenic mice. These novel findings indicate that activating α7 nAChR is a promising treatment for cognitive impairment in AD.
Article
Amyloid-β (Aβ) containing plaques and tau-laden neurofibrillary tangles are the defining neuropathological features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To better mimic this neuropathology, we generated a novel triple transgenic model of AD (3xTg-AD) harboring three mutant genes: β-amyloid precursor protein (βAPPSwe), presenilin-1 (PS1M146V), and tauP301L. The 3xTg-AD mice progressively develop Aβ and tau pathology, with a temporal- and regional-specific profile that closely mimics their development in the human AD brain. We find that Aβ deposits initiate in the cortex and progress to the hippocampus with aging, whereas tau pathology is first apparent in the hippocampus and then progresses to the cortex. Despite equivalent overexpression of the human βAPP and human tau transgenes, Aβ deposition develops prior to the tangle pathology, consistent with the amyloid cascade hypothesis. As these 3xTg-AD mice phenocopy critical aspects of AD neuropathology, this model will be useful in pre-clinical intervention trials, particularly because the efficacy of anti-AD compounds in mitigating the neurodegenerative effects mediated by both signature lesions can be evaluated.
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive memory decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Despite common emotional symptoms in AD such as anxiety and fear are associated with a more rapid cognitive decline, the pathological mechanisms involved in these behavioral changes remain largely elusive. In this study, we examined the pathological mechanisms of emotional behavior in well-established AD transgenic mice expressing human mutant beta-amyloid (Abeta) precursor protein (APP(Ind) and APP(Sw,Ind)) and tau (3xTg-AD). We evaluated unconditioned and conditioned fear-induced freezing behavior and spatial memory in APP(Ind), APP(Sw,Ind), and 3xTg-AD transgenic mice. The Abeta and tau pathologies and signaling pathways involved in emotional processing were studied by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting analyses. The APP(Ind)/APP(Sw,Ind) and 3xTg-AD transgenic mice displayed at early ages enhanced innate and conditioned fear symptoms and spatial memory deficits coinciding with enhanced accumulation of Abeta in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic and glutamatergic neurons, respectively, of the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Similarly, the number of neurons with intraneuronal Abeta40 and Abeta42 was significantly increased in the BLA of human AD brains. Fear responses might reflect an influence of anxiety, because the anxiolytic compounds valproate, diazepam, and buspirone reduced efficiently unconditioned and conditioned fear responses in APP transgenic mice. In addition, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, which is critical for acquisition and consolidation of fear conditioning, was increased in the amygdala of APP transgenic mice after cued conditioning. We propose a deleterious role of intraneuronal Abeta on amygdala-dependent emotional responses by affecting the extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK) signaling pathway.
Conference Paper
There are several rank tests for analyzing certain experimental designs. This study compares the robustness and power of several of these, including the rank transform, aligned ranks, and joint rank sum procedures. The experimental designs studied include the two-way layout with n = 2 and n = 5 observations per cell, the two-way layout with unequal numbers of observations per cell, and the two-way layout with replication. Results are obtained by Monte Carlo simulation of normal, lognormal, and exponential random variables, using linear and nonlinear models. The results show the rank transform procedures to be superior to the other rank tests on the basis of robustness, power, and ease of application. They appear to be preferable to the usual analysis of variance procedures, except where the usual analysis of variance assumptions are met. 32 figures, 9 tables.
Article
Although neuroactive steroids exert neuroprotective actions in different experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases, including those of Alzheimer's disease (AD), their relationships with aged related physiologic and pathologic brain changes remain to be clarified. In this study the levels of pregnenolone, dehydroepiandrosterone, progesterone, dihydroprogesterone, tetrahydroprogesterone, isopregnanolone, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol, 5α-androstane-3β,17β-diol, 17α-estradiol, and 17β-estradiol were assessed in the limbic region of young adult (7 months) and aged (24 months) male wild type and triple transgenic AD mice. Age related neuropathological changes in AD brains, such as β-amyloid accumulation and gliosis, were associated with modified levels of specific neuroactive steroids and particularly with changes in the levels of progesterone and testosterone metabolites. The altered levels of neuroactive steroids in aged AD brains might impact on the activation of neuroprotective signaling mediated by classic and nonclassic steroid receptors, like the gamma-aminobuttyric acid (GABA)-A receptor.
Article
Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis occurs in response to the organism's innate need for homeostasis. The glucocorticoids (GCs) that are released into the circulation upon acute activation of the HPA axis perform stress-adaptive functions and provide negative feedback to turn off the HPA axis, but can be detrimental when in excess. Long-term activation of the HPA axis (such as with chronic stress) enhances susceptibility to neuronal dysfunction and death, and increases vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, little is known how components of the HPA axis, upstream of GCs, impact vulnerability to AD. This study examined basal gene expression of stress-related molecules in brains of 3xTg-AD mice during early-stage pathology. Basal GC levels and mRNA expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), and corticotropic releasing hormone (CRH) in several stress- and emotionality-related brain regions were measured in 3-4-month-old 3xTg-AD mice. Despite normal GC levels, young 3xTg-AD mice exhibit an activated central HPA axis, with altered mRNA levels of MR and GR in the hippocampus, GR and CRH in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, GR and CRH in the central nucleus of the amygdala, and CRH in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. This HPA axis activation is present during early-stage neuropathology when 3xTg-AD mice show mild behavioral changes, suggesting an ongoing neuroendocrine regulation that precedes the onset of severe AD-like pathology and behavioral deficits.
Article
3xTg-AD mutant mice are characterized by parenchymal Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles resembling those found in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The mutants were compared with non-transgenic controls in sensorimotor and learning tests. 3xTg-AD mutants were deficient in T-maze reversal, object recognition, and passive avoidance learning. In addition, the mutants showed hypoactivity in two open-field tests, fewer fecal boli in an observation jar, and reduced enclosed arm entries and head-dipping in the elevated plus-maze. On the contrary, the mutants did not differ from controls in pain thresholds, nest-building, and various reflexes determined by the SHIRPA primary screen and were even better on the rotorod test of motor coordination.
Article
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia among elderly. Currently, no effective treatment is available for AD. Analysis of transgenic mouse models of AD has facilitated our understanding of disease mechanisms and provided valuable tools for evaluating potential therapeutic strategies. In this review, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current mouse models of AD and the contribution towards understanding the pathological mechanisms and developing effective therapies.
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive cognitive deficits, accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal death. Additionally, mitochondrial dysfunction and free radical damage are hallmarks of AD brain. Here we set out to define the role of oxidative stress in AD pathogenesis and progression by chronically treating 3xTg-AD mice with the superoxide dismutase (SOD)/catalase mimetic, EUK-207. Treatment started at 4 months before onset of pathology and cognitive deficits, and continued until 9 months, when the AD phenotype was established. Cognitive performance was assessed using fear conditioning, and brain oxidative stress, Aβ, and tau pathology were analyzed. At 9 months, 3xTg-AD mice exhibited a decline in performance in both contextual and cued fear conditioning, as compared to wild-type mice. EUK-207-treated 3xTg-AD mice did not display any deficit in fear conditioning and exhibited reduced Aβ, tau, and phosphorylated tau accumulation in amygdala and hippocampus, as well as brain levels of Aβ42, oxidized nucleic acids, and lipid peroxidation. The effects of a 3-month treatment after pathology onset at 9 months on cognitive performance, brain oxidative stress, Aβ, and tau pathology were also evaluated. EUK-207-treated 3xTg-AD mice did not display any deficit in fear conditioning and were protected against increases in brain levels of oxidized nucleic acids and lipid peroxidation; they also had reduced Aβ, tau, and hyperphosphorylated tau accumulation in amygdala and hippocampus. Our results confirm a critical role for oxidative stress in AD pathogenesis and progression and suggest the potential usefulness of EUK-207 in AD treatment.
Article
Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) are core features of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Once thought to emerge primarily in people with late-stage disease, these symptoms are currently known to manifest commonly in very early disease and in prodromal phases, such as mild cognitive impairment. Despite decades of research, reliable treatments for dementia-associated NPS have not been found, and those that are in widespread use present notable risks for people using these medications. An Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable was convened in the spring of 2010 to review what is known about NPS in Alzheimer's disease, to discuss classification and underlying neuropathogenesis and vulnerabilities, and to formulate recommendations for new approaches to tailored therapeutics.
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressively debilitating brain disorder pathologically defined by extracellular amyloid plaques, intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles, and synaptic disintegrity. AD has not been widely considered a disease of white matter, but more recent evidence suggests the existence of abnormalities in myelination patterns and myelin attrition in AD-afflicted human brains. Herein, we demonstrate that triple-transgenic AD (3xTg-AD) mice, which harbor the human amyloid precursor protein Swedish mutant transgene, presenilin knock-in mutation, and tau P301L mutant transgene, exhibit significant region-specific alterations in myelination patterns and in oligodendrocyte marker expression profiles at time points preceding the appearance of amyloid and tau pathology. These immunohistochemical signatures are coincident with age-related alterations in axonal and myelin sheath ultrastructure as visualized by comparative electron microscopic examination of 3xTg-AD and nontransgenic mouse brain tissue. Overall, these findings indicate that 3xTg-AD mice represent a viable model in which to examine mechanisms underlying AD-related myelination and neural transmission defects that occur early during presymptomatic stages of the disease process.
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by distinct behavioral and cognitive deficits that differ from those observed in normal aging. Transgenic models of AD are a promising tool in understanding the underlying mechanisms and cause of disease. The triple-transgenic mouse model of AD (3xTg-AD) is the only model to exhibit both Abeta and tau pathology that is characteristic of the human form. The present study characterized the performance of 3xTg-AD mice on several tasks measuring behavioral and cognitive ability. Aged 3xTg-AD females exhibited a higher level of fear and anxiety demonstrated by increased restlessness, startle responses, and freezing behaviors. No differences were observed in muscle strength and visuo-motor coordination. Understanding the behavioral manifestations that occur in this model of AD may aid in the early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of AD symptomology.
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by cognitive impairment, progressive neurodegeneration and formation of amyloid-beta (Abeta)-containing plaques and neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. The neurodegenerative process in AD is initially characterized by synaptic damage accompanied by neuronal loss. In addition, recent evidence suggests that alterations in adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus might play a role. Synaptic loss is one of the strongest correlates to the cognitive impairment in patients with AD. Several lines of investigation support the notion that the synaptic pathology and defective neurogenesis in AD are related to progressive accumulation of Abeta oligomers rather than fibrils. Abnormal accumulation of Abeta resulting in the formation of toxic oligomers is the result of an imbalance between the levels of Abeta production, aggregation and clearance. Abeta oligomers might lead to synaptic damage by forming pore-like structures with channel activity; alterations in glutamate receptors; circuitry hyper-excitability; mitochondrial dysfunction; lysosomal failure and alterations in signaling pathways related to synaptic plasticity, neuronal cell and neurogenesis. A number of signaling proteins, including fyn kinase; glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK3beta) and cyclin-dependent kinase-5 (CDK5), are involved in the neurodegenerative progression of AD. Therapies for AD might require the development of anti-aggregation compounds, pro-clearance pathways and blockers of hyperactive signaling pathways.
Animal models of Alzheimer disease. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
  • F M Laferla
  • K N Green
LaFerla FM, Green KN. Animal models of Alzheimer disease. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012;2(11):a006320.
Amyloid deposition precedes tangle formation in a triple transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease
  • Oddo
Characterization of the 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease: part 2
  • Sterniczuk