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      Sustained Hippocampal Neural Plasticity Questions the Reproducibility of an Amyloid-β-Induced Alzheimer’s Disease Model

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          Abstract

          Background: The use of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) models obtained by intracerebral infusion of amyloid-β (Aβ) has been increasingly reported in recent years. Nonetheless, these models may present important challenges. Objective: We have focused on canonical mechanisms of hippocampal-related neural plasticity to characterize a rat model obtained by an intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of soluble amyloid-β42 (Aβ42). Methods: Animal behavior was evaluated in the elevated plus maze, Y-Maze spontaneous or forced alternation, Morris water maze, and open field, starting 2 weeks post-Aβ42 infusion. Hippocampal neurogenesis was assessed 3 weeks after Aβ42 injection. Aβ deposition, tropomyosin receptor kinase B levels, and neuroinflammation were appraised at 3 and 14 days post-Aβ42 administration. Results: We found that immature neuronal dendritic morphology was abnormally enhanced, but proliferation and neuronal differentiation in the dentate gyrus was conserved one month after Aβ42 injection. Surprisingly, animal behavior did not reveal changes in cognitive performance nor in locomotor and anxious-related activity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor related-signaling was also unchanged at 3 and 14 days post-Aβ icv injection. Likewise, astrocytic and microglial markers of neuroinflammation in the hippocampus were unaltered in these time points. Conclusion: Taken together, our data emphasize a high variability and lack of behavioral reproducibility associated with these Aβ injection-based models, as well as the need for its further optimization, aiming at addressing the gap between preclinical AD models and the human disorder.

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          Most cited references110

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          Mechanisms and functional implications of adult neurogenesis.

          The generation of new neurons is sustained throughout adulthood in the mammalian brain due to the proliferation and differentiation of adult neural stem cells. In this review, we discuss the factors that regulate proliferation and fate determination of adult neural stem cells and describe recent studies concerning the integration of newborn neurons into the existing neural circuitry. We further address the potential significance of adult neurogenesis in memory, depression, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
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            Morris water maze: procedures for assessing spatial and related forms of learning and memory.

            The Morris water maze (MWM) is a test of spatial learning for rodents that relies on distal cues to navigate from start locations around the perimeter of an open swimming arena to locate a submerged escape platform. Spatial learning is assessed across repeated trials and reference memory is determined by preference for the platform area when the platform is absent. Reversal and shift trials enhance the detection of spatial impairments. Trial-dependent, latent and discrimination learning can be assessed using modifications of the basic protocol. Search-to-platform area determines the degree of reliance on spatial versus non-spatial strategies. Cued trials determine whether performance factors that are unrelated to place learning are present. Escape from water is relatively immune from activity or body mass differences, making it ideal for many experimental models. The MWM has proven to be a robust and reliable test that is strongly correlated with hippocampal synaptic plasticity and NMDA receptor function. We present protocols for performing variants of the MWM test, from which results can be obtained from individual animals in as few as 6 days.
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              Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is abundant in neurologically healthy subjects and drops sharply in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

              The hippocampus is one of the most affected areas in Alzheimer's disease (AD)1. Moreover, this structure hosts one of the most unique phenomena of the adult mammalian brain, namely, the addition of new neurons throughout life2. This process, called adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN), confers an unparalleled degree of plasticity to the entire hippocampal circuitry3,4. Nonetheless, direct evidence of AHN in humans has remained elusive. Thus, determining whether new neurons are continuously incorporated into the human dentate gyrus (DG) during physiological and pathological aging is a crucial question with outstanding therapeutic potential. By combining human brain samples obtained under tightly controlled conditions and state-of-the-art tissue processing methods, we identified thousands of immature neurons in the DG of neurologically healthy human subjects up to the ninth decade of life. These neurons exhibited variable degrees of maturation along differentiation stages of AHN. In sharp contrast, the number and maturation of these neurons progressively declined as AD advanced. These results demonstrate the persistence of AHN during both physiological and pathological aging in humans and provide evidence for impaired neurogenesis as a potentially relevant mechanism underlying memory deficits in AD that might be amenable to novel therapeutic strategies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
                JAD
                IOS Press
                13872877
                18758908
                August 03 2021
                August 03 2021
                : 82
                : 3
                : 1183-1202
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Instituto de Farmacologia e Neurociências, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
                [2 ]Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
                [3 ]Instituto de Biologia Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
                [4 ]Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
                Article
                10.3233/JAD-201567
                87bdf565-4caa-49b4-8526-44b1f8ef4313
                © 2021
                History

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