Age-dependent impairment of spine morphology and synaptic plasticity in hippocampal CA1 neurons of a presenilin 1 transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Alexandra Auffret, Vanessa Gautheron, Mariaelena Repici, Rudolf Kraftsik, Howard T J Mount, Jean Mariani, Catherine Rovira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presenilin 1 (PS1) mutations are responsible for a majority of early onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) cases, in part by increasing the production of Abeta peptides. However, emerging evidence suggests other possible effects of PS1 on synaptic dysfunction where PS1 might contribute to the pathology independent of Abeta. We chose to study the L286V mutation, an aggressive FAD mutation which has never been analyzed at the electrophysiological and morphological levels. In addition, we analyzed for the first time the long term effects of wild-type human PS1 overexpression. We investigated the consequences of the overexpression of either wild-type human PS1 (hPS1) or the L286V mutated PS1 variant (mutPS1) on synaptic functions by analyzing synaptic plasticity and associated spine density changes from 3 to 15 months of age. We found that mutPS1 induces a transient increase observed only in 4- to 5-month-old mutPS1 animals in NMDA receptor (NMDA-R)-mediated responses and LTP compared with hPS1 mice and nontransgenic littermates. The increase in synaptic functions is concomitant with an increase in spine density. With increasing age, however, we found that the overexpression of human wild-type PS1 progressively decreased NMDA-R-mediated synaptic transmission and LTP, without neurodegeneration. These results identify for the first time a transient increase in synaptic function associated with L286V mutated PS1 variant in an age-dependent manner. In addition, they support the view that the PS1 overexpression promotes synaptic dysfunction in an Abeta-independent manner and underline the crucial role of PS1 during both normal and pathological aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10144-10152
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2009 Society for Neuroscience. Articles are released under a Creative Commons Attribution License after a 6 months embargo


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease/genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Dendritic Spines/genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus/cytology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Long-Term Potentiation/genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Neuronal Plasticity/genetics
  • Neurons/cytology
  • Presenilin-1/genetics
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate/metabolism
  • Synapses/genetics
  • Synaptic Transmission/genetics


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