BACKGROUND: With current treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD) only providing temporary symptomatic benefits, disease modifying drugs are urgently required. This approach relies on improved understanding of the early pathophysiology of AD. A new hypothesis has emerged, in which early memory loss is considered a synapse failure caused by soluble amyloid-β oligomers (Aβo). These small soluble Aβo, which precede the formation of larger fibrillar assemblies, may be the main cause of early AD pathologies.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of acute administration of stabilized low-n amyloid-β1-42 oligomers (Aβo1-42) on cognitive, inflammatory, synaptic, and neuronal markers in the rat.
METHODS: Female and male Lister Hooded rats received acute intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of either vehicle or 5 nmol of Aβo1-42 (10μL). Cognition was assessed in the novel object recognition (NOR) paradigm at different time points. Levels of inflammatory (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α), synaptic (PSD-95, SNAP-25), and neuronal (n-acetylaspartate, parvalbumin-positive cells) markers were investigated in different brain regions (prefrontal and frontal cortex, striatum, dorsal and ventral hippocampus).
RESULTS: Acute ICV administration of Aβo1-42 induced robust and enduring NOR deficits. These deficits were reversed by acute administration of donepezil and rolipram but not risperidone. Postmortem analysis revealed an increase in inflammatory markers, a decrease in synaptic markers and parvalbumin containing interneurons in the frontal cortex, with no evidence of widespread neuronal loss.
CONCLUSION: Taken together the results suggest that acute administration of soluble low-n Aβo may be a useful model to study the early mechanisms involved in AD and provide us with a platform for testing novel therapeutic approaches that target the early underlying synaptic pathology.