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Impact of Adverse Life Events on Neuroplasticity
NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING
Total Funding: $ 692,946
Chronic stresses such as loss of a spouse or sleep deprivation, may cause memory impairments and increase susceptibility to AD. Experimental models of stress demonstrate impairments in spatial memory, contextual memory and object recognition in response to psychosocial or environmental stress. Yet, it remains to be determined if and how environmental stress modifies the cellular and molecular alterations that result in cognitive deficits in normal aging and in AD. We are employing mouse models to test the hypothesis that chronic psychosocial stress and sleep deprivation will accelerate the development of cognitive impairment in normal aging and in AD. Using the triple-transgenic AD mouse model (3xTgAD mice) we are determining the effects of chronic stress on amyloidogenes, tau pathology, synaptic dysfunction and learning and memory impairment. We are testing the hypothesis that aging and AD compromise adaptive cellular stress response pathways resulting in increased oxidative stress associated with reduced expression of neuroprotective proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and antioxidant enzymes. In related studies we have found that, in a model of type 2 diabetes, overeating results in hyperactivation of the neuroendocrine stress system, and that elevated levels of adrenal glucocorticoids impair hippocampal synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis, and that these stress-related alterations are associated with a deficit in cognitive function. Interestingly, regular exercise and dietary energy restriction can counteract the adverse effects of diabetes on hippocampal plasticity by a mechanism involving up-regulation of the expression of the neurotrophic factor BDNF. Chronic stress may be a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), but most studies of the effects of stress in models of AD utilize acute adverse stressors of questionable clinical relevance. We therefore undertook a study to determine how chronic psychosocial stress affects behavioral and pathological outcomes in an animal model of AD, and to elucidate underlying mechanisms. A triple-transgenic mouse model of AD (3xTgAD mice) and nontransgenic control mice were used to test for an affect of chronic mild social stress on blood glucose, plasma glucocorticoids, plasma insulin, anxiety, and hippocampal amyloid β-particle (Aβ), phosphorylated tau (ptau), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Despite the fact that both control and 3xTgAD mice experienced rises in corticosterone during episodes of mild social stress, at the end of the 6-week stress period 3xTgAD mice displayed increased anxiety, elevated levels of Aβoligomers and intraneuronal Aβ, and decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels, whereas control mice did not. Our findings suggest 3xTgAD mice are more vulnerable than control mice to chronic psychosocial stress, and that such chronic stress exacerbates Aβaccumulation and impairs neurotrophic signaling. Several mouse models of AD with abundant β-amyloid and/or aberrantly phosphorylated tau develop memory impairments. However, multiple non-mnemonic cognitive domains such as attention and executive control are also compromised early in AD individuals. Currently, it is unclear whether mutations in the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau are sufficient to cause similar, AD-like attention deficits in mouse models of the disease. To address this question, we tested 3xTgAD mice (which express APPswe, PS1M146V, and tauP301L mutations) and wild-type control mice on a newly developed touchscreen-based 5-choice serial reaction time test of attention and response control. The 3xTgAD mice attended less accurately to short, spatially unpredictable stimuli when the attentional demand of the task was high, and also showed a general tendency to make more perseverative responses than wild-type mice. The attentional impairment of 3xTgAD mice was comparable to that of AD patients in two aspects: first, although 3xTgAD mice initially responded as accurately as wild-type mice, they subsequently failed to sustain their attention over the duration of the task;second, the ability to sustain attention was enhanced by the cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil (Aricept). These findings demonstrate that familial AD mutations not only affect memory, but also cause significant impairments in attention, a cognitive domain supported by the prefrontal cortex and its afferents. Because attention deficits are likely to affect memory encoding and other cognitive abilities, our findings have important consequences for the assessment of disease mechanisms and therapeutics in animal models of AD.
4 Resulting Publications
Sarah J Texel; Mark P MattsonAntioxidants & redox signaling 2011;14(8):1519-34.
Dimitrios Kapogiannis; Mark P MattsonLancet neurology 2011;10(2):187-98.
Xiangru Xu; Mohamed R Mughal; F Scott Hall; Maria T G Perona; Paul J Pistell; Justin D Lathia; Srinivasulu Chigurupati; Kevin G Becker; Bruce Ladenheim; Laura E Niklason; et al.Journal of neurochemistry 2010;114(1):323-34.
Sarah M Rothman; Mark P MattsonNeuromolecular medicine 2010;12(1):56-70.
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