NMDA receptors mediate synaptic depression, but not spine loss in the dentate gyrus of adult amyloid Beta (A[beta]) overexpressing mice

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From: Acta Neuropathologica Communications(Vol. 6, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,821 words
Lexile Measure: 1470L

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Abstract :

Amyloid beta (A[beta])-mediated synapse dysfunction and spine loss are considered to be early events in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have previously been suggested to play a role for Amyloid beta (A[beta]) toxicity. Pharmacological block of NMDAR subunits in cultured neurons and mice suggested that NMDARs containing the GluN2B subunit are necessary for A[beta]-mediated changes in synapse number and function in hippocampal neurons. Interestingly, NMDARs undergo a developmental switch from GluN2B- to GluN2A-containing receptors. This indicates different functional roles of NMDARs in young mice compared to older animals. In addition, the lack of pharmacological tools to efficiently dissect the role of NMDARs containing the different subunits complicates the interpretation of their specific role. In order to address this problem and to investigate the specific role for A[beta] toxicity of the distinct NMDAR subunits in dentate gyrus granule cells of adult mice, we used conditional knockout mouse lines for the subunits GluN1, GluN2A and GluN2B. A[beta]-mediated changes in synaptic function and neuronal anatomy were investigated in several-months old mice with virus-mediated overproduction of A[beta] and in 1-year old 5xFAD mice. We found that all three NMDAR subunits contribute to the A[beta]-mediated decrease in the number of functional synapses. However, NMDARs are not required for the spine number reduction in dentate gyrus granule cells after chronic A[beta]-overproduction in 5xFAD mice. Furthermore, the amplitude of synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDAR-mediated currents was reduced in dentate gyrus granule of 5xFAD mice without changes in current kinetics, suggesting that a redistribution or change in subunit composition of NMDARs does not play a role in mediating Amyloid beta (A[beta]) toxicity. Our study indicates that NMDARs are involved in AD pathogenesis by compromising synapse function but not by affecting neuron morphology. Keywords: NMDA receptor, Amyloid Beta, Alzheimer's disease, GluN2B, GluN2A

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A559789402