Pharmacological Rescue of Long-Term Potentiation in Alzheimer Diseased Synapses.
ABSTRACT: Long-term potentiation (LTP) is an activity-dependent and persistent increase in synaptic transmission. Currently available techniques to measure LTP are time-intensive and require highly specialized expertise and equipment, and thus are not well suited for screening of multiple candidate treatments, even in animal models. To expand and facilitate the analysis of LTP, here we use a flow cytometry-based method to track chemically induced LTP by detecting surface AMPA receptors in isolated synaptosomes: fluorescence analysis of single-synapse long-term potentiation (FASS-LTP). First, we demonstrate that FASS-LTP is simple, sensitive, and models electrically induced LTP recorded in intact circuitries. Second, we conducted FASS-LTP analysis in two well-characterized Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse models (3xTg and Tg2576) and, importantly, in cryopreserved human AD brain samples. By profiling hundreds of synaptosomes, our data provide the first direct evidence to support the idea that synapses from AD brain are intrinsically defective in LTP. Third, we used FASS-LTP for drug evaluation in human synaptosomes. Testing a panel of modulators of cAMP and cGMP signaling pathways, FASS-LTP identified vardenafil and Bay-73-6691 (phosphodiesterase-5 and -9 inhibitors, respectively) as potent enhancers of LTP in synaptosomes from AD cases. These results indicate that our approach could provide the basis for protocols to study LTP in both healthy and diseased human brains, a previously unattainable goal. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Learning and memory depend on the ability of synapses to strengthen in response to activity. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a rapid and persistent increase in synaptic transmission that is thought to be affected in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, direct evidence of LTP deficits in human AD brain has been elusive, primarily due to methodological limitations. Here, we analyze LTP in isolated synapses from AD brain using a novel approach that allows testing LTP in cryopreserved brain. Our analysis of hundreds of synapses supports the idea that AD-diseased synapses are intrinsically defective in LTP. Further, we identified pharmacological agents that rescue LTP in AD, thus opening up a new avenue for drug screening and evaluation of strategies for alleviating memory impairments.
Project description:For decades, neuroscientists have used enriched preparations of synaptic particles called synaptosomes to study synapse function. However, the interpretation of corresponding data is problematic as synaptosome preparations contain multiple types of synapses and non-synaptic neuronal and glial contaminants. We established a novel Fluorescence Activated Synaptosome Sorting (FASS) method that substantially improves conventional synaptosome enrichment protocols and enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations. Employing knock-in mice with fluorescent glutamatergic synapses, we show that FASS isolates intact ultrapure synaptosomes composed of a resealed presynaptic terminal and a postsynaptic density as assessed by light and electron microscopy. FASS synaptosomes contain bona fide glutamatergic synapse proteins but are almost devoid of other synapse types and extrasynaptic or glial contaminants. We identified 163 enriched proteins in FASS samples, of which FXYD6 and Tpd52 were validated as new synaptic proteins. FASS purification thus enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations in health and disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays an important role in synaptic plasticity and cogntive function. We reported that higher numbers of neural stem cells (NSC) in the hippocampus of cognitively-intact individuals with high Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology (plaques and tangles) is associated with decreased synaptic amyloid beta oligomers (Aβο), an event linked to onset of dementia in AD. While these findings suggest a link between NSC and synaptic resistance to Aβο, the involved mechanism remains to be determined. With this goal in mind, here we investigated the ability of exosomes secreted from hippocampal NSC to promote synaptic resilience to Aβo. METHODS:Exosomes isolated from media of hippocampus NSC (NSC-exo) or mature hippocampal neuronal (MN-exo) cultures were delivered intracerebroventricularly (ICV) to mice before assessment of Aβο-induced suppression of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory deficits. Aβο binding to synapses was assessed in cultured hippocampal neurons and on synaptosomes isolated from hippocampal slices from wild type mice and from an inducible mouse model of NSC ablation (Nestin-δ-HSV-TK mice) treated with exosomes. Expression of CaMKII and of AMPA and NMDA glutamate receptor subunits in synaptosomes was measured by western blot. Small RNA Deep sequencing was performed to identify microRNAs enriched in NSC-exo as compared to MN-exo. Mimics of select miRNAs were injected ICV. RESULTS:NSC-exo, but not MN-exo, abolished Aβo-induced suppression of LTP and subsequent memory deficits. Furthermore, in hippocampal slices and cultured neurons, NSC-exo significantly decreased Aβo binding to the synapse. Similarly, transgenic ablation of endogenous NSC increased synaptic Aβo binding, which was reversed by exogenous NSC-exo. Phosphorylation of synaptic CaMKII was increased by NSC-exo, while AMPA and NMDA receptors were not affected. Lastly, we identified a set of miRNAs enriched in NSC-exo that, when injected ICV, protected the synapses from Aβo-binding and Aβo-induced LTP inhibition. CONCLUSIONS:These results identify a novel mechanism linking NSC-exo and synaptic susceptibility to Aβo that may underscore cognitive resilience of certain individuals with increased neurogenesis in spite of AD neuropathology and unmask a novel target for the development of a new treatment concept for AD centered on promoting synaptic resilience to toxic amyloid proteins.
Project description:Synaptic dysfunction due to the disrupting binding of amyloid beta (A?) and tau oligomers is one of the earliest impairments in Alzheimer's Disease (AD), driving initial cognitive deficits and clinical manifestation. Consequently, there is ample consensus that preventing early synaptic dysfunction would be an effective therapeutic strategy for AD. With this goal in mind, we investigated the effect of a treatment of mice with near infrared (NIR) light on synaptic vulnerability to A? oligomers. We found that A? oligomer binding to CNS synaptosomes isolated from wild type (wt) mice treated with NIR light was significantly reduced and the resulting suppression of long term potentiation (LTP) by A? oligomers was prevented. Similarly, APP transgenic mice treated with NIR showed a significant reduction of endogenous A? at CNS synapses. We further found that these phenomena were accompanied by increased synaptic mitochondrial membrane potential in both wt and Tg2576 mice. This study provides evidence that NIR light can effectively reduce synaptic vulnerability to damaging A? oligomers, thus furthering NIR light therapy as a viable treatment for AD.
Project description:In the aged brain, synaptic plasticity and memory show increased vulnerability to impairment by the inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1β (IL-1β). In this study, we evaluated the possibility that synapses may directly undergo maladaptive changes with age that augment sensitivity to IL-1β impairment. In hippocampal neuronal cultures, IL-1β increased the expression of the IL-1 receptor type 1 and the accessory coreceptor AcP (proinflammatory), but not of the AcPb (prosurvival) subunit, a reconfiguration that potentiates the responsiveness of neurons to IL-1β. To evaluate whether synapses develop a similar heightened sensitivity to IL-1β with age, we used an assay to track long-term potentiation (LTP) in synaptosomes. We found that IL-1β impairs LTP directly at the synapse and that sensitivity to IL-1β is augmented in aged hippocampal synapses. The increased synaptic sensitivity to IL-1β was due to IL-1 receptor subunit reconfiguration, characterized by a shift in the AcP/AcPb ratio, paralleling our culture data. We suggest that the age-related increase in brain IL-1β levels drives a shift in IL-1 receptor configuration, thus heightening the sensitivity to IL-1β. Accordingly, selective blocking of AcP-dependent signaling with Toll-IL-1 receptor domain peptidomimetics prevented IL-1β-mediated LTP suppression and blocked the memory impairment induced in aged mice by peripheral immune challenge (bacterial lipopolysaccharide). Overall, this study demonstrates that increased AcP signaling, specifically at the synapse, underlies the augmented vulnerability to cognitive impairment by IL-1β that occurs with age.
Project description:Neural activity can induce persistent strengthening or weakening of synapses, known as long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD), respectively. As potential cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory, LTP and LTD are generally regarded as synapse-specific "imprints" of activity, although there is evidence in vitro that LTP/LTD may spread to adjacent synapses. Here, we report that LTP and LTD induced in vivo at retinotectal synapses of Xenopus tadpoles undergo rapid long-range retrograde spread from the optic tectum to the retina, resulting in potentiation and depression of bipolar cell synapses on the dendrites of retinal ganglion cells, respectively. The retrograde spread of LTP and LTD required retrograde signaling initiated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide in the tectum, respectively. Such bidirectional adjustment of the strength of input synapses in accordance to that of output synapses may serve to coordinate developmental refinement and learning functions of neural circuits.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology begins decades prior to onset of clinical symptoms, and the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus are among the first and most extensively impacted brain regions. The TgF344-AD rat model, which more fully recapitulates human AD pathology in an age-dependent manner, is a next generation preclinical rodent model for understanding pathophysiological processes underlying the earliest stages of AD (Cohen et al., 2013). Whether synaptic alterations occur in hippocampus prior to reported learning and memory deficit is not known. Furthermore, it is not known if specific hippocampal synapses are differentially affected by progressing AD pathology, or if synaptic deficits begin to appear at the same age in males and females in this preclinical model. Here, we investigated the time-course of synaptic changes in basal transmission, paired-pulse ratio, as an indirect measure of presynaptic release probability, long-term potentiation (LTP), and dendritic spine density at two hippocampal synapses in male and ovariectomized female TgF344-AD rats and wildtype littermates, prior to reported behavioral deficits. Decreased basal synaptic transmission begins at medial perforant path-dentate granule cell (MPP-DGC) synapses prior to Schaffer-collateral-CA1 (CA3-CA1) synapses, in the absence of a change in paired-pulse ratio (PPR) or dendritic spine density. N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent LTP magnitude is unaffected at CA3-CA1 synapses at 6, 9, and 12months of age, but is significantly increased at MPP-DGC synapses in TgF344-AD rats at 6months only. Sex differences were only observed at CA3-CA1 synapses where the decrease in basal transmission occurs at a younger age in males versus females. These are the first studies to define presymptomatic alterations in hippocampal synaptic transmission in the TgF344-AD rat model. The time course of altered synaptic transmission mimics the spread of pathology through hippocampus in human AD and provides support for this model as a valuable preclinical tool in elucidating pathological mechanisms of early synapse dysfunction in AD.
Project description:Plasticity of thalamocortical (TC) synapses is robust during early development and becomes limited in the adult brain. We previously reported that a short duration of deafening strengthens TC synapses in the primary visual cortex (V1) of adult mice. Here, we demonstrate that deafening restores NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) of TC synapses onto principal neurons in V1 layer 4 (L4), which is accompanied by an increase in NMDAR function. In contrast, deafening did not recover long-term depression (LTD) at TC synapses. Potentiation of TC synapses by deafening is absent in parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons, resulting in an increase in feedforward excitation to inhibition (E/I) ratio. Furthermore, we found that a brief duration of deafening adult mice recovers rapid ocular dominance plasticity (ODP) mainly by accelerating potentiation of the open-eye responses. Our results suggest that cross-modal sensory deprivation promotes adult cortical plasticity by specifically recovering TC-LTP and increasing the E/I ratio.
Project description:The synapse specificity of long-term potentiation (LTP) ensures that no interference arises from inputs irrelevant to the memory to be encoded. In hippocampi of aged (21-28 months) mice, LTP was relayed to unstimulated synapses, blemishing its synapse specificity. Diminished levels of the K(+)/Cl(-) cotransporter KCC2 and a depolarizing GABAA receptor-mediated synaptic component following LTP were the most likely causes for the spreading of potentiation, unveiling mechanisms hindering information storage in the aged brain and identifying KCC2 as a potential target for intervention.
Project description:Loss-of-function mutations or abnormal expression of the X-linked gene encoding methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) cause a spectrum of postnatal neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett syndrome (RTT), nonsyndromic mental retardation, learning disability, and autism. Mice expressing a truncated allele of Mecp2 (Mecp2(308)) reproduce the motor and social behavior abnormalities of RTT; however, it is not known whether learning deficits are present in these animals. We investigated learning and memory, neuronal morphology, and synaptic function in Mecp2(308) mice. Hippocampus-dependent spatial memory, contextual fear memory, and social memory were significantly impaired in Mecp2(308) mutant males (Mecp2(308/Y)). The morphology of dendritic arborizations, the biochemical composition of synaptosomes and postsynaptic densities, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression were not altered in these mice. However, reduced postsynaptic density cross-sectional length was identified in asymmetric synapses of area CA1 of the hippocampus. In the hippocampus of symptomatic Mecp2(308/Y) mice, Schaffer-collateral synapses exhibited enhanced basal synaptic transmission and decreased paired-pulse facilitation, suggesting that neurotransmitter release was enhanced. Schaffer-collateral long-term potentiation (LTP) was impaired. LTP was also reduced in the motor and sensory regions of the neocortex. Finally, very early symptomatic Mecp2(308/Y) mice had increased basal synaptic transmission and deficits in the induction of long-term depression. These data demonstrate a requirement for MeCP2 in learning and memory and suggest that functional and ultrastructural synaptic dysfunction is an early event in the pathogenesis of RTT.
Project description:Learning and memory formation involve long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic strength. A fundamental feature of LTP induction in the brain is the need for coincident pre- and postsynaptic activity. This restricts LTP expression to activated synapses only (homosynaptic LTP) and leads to its input specificity. In the spinal cord, we discovered a fundamentally different form of LTP that is induced by glial cell activation and mediated by diffusible, extracellular messengers, including d-serine and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and that travel long distances via the cerebrospinal fluid, thereby affecting susceptible synapses at remote sites. The properties of this gliogenic LTP resolve unexplained findings of memory traces in nociceptive pathways and may underlie forms of widespread pain hypersensitivity.