Functional Integrity of Synapses in the Central Nervous System of Cognitively Intact Individuals with High Alzheimer's Disease Neuropathology Is Associated with Absence of Synaptic Tau Oligomers

Ayush Singh, Dyron Allen, Anna Fracassi, Batbayar Tumurbaatar, Chandramouli Natarajan, Pietro Scaduto, Randy Woltjer, Rakez Kayed, Agenor Limon, Balaji Krishnan, Giulio Taglialatela, Jose Abisambra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Certain individuals, here referred to as Non-Demented with Alzheimer Neuropathology (NDAN), do not show overt neurodegeneration (N-) and remain cognitively intact despite the presence of plaques (A+) and tangles (T+) that would normally be consistent with fully symptomatic Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: The existence of NDAN (A+T+N-) subjects suggests that the human brain utilizes intrinsic mechanisms that can naturally evade cognitive decline normally associated with the symptomatic stages of AD (A+T+N+). Deciphering the underlying mechanisms would prove relevant to develop complementing therapeutics to prevent progression of AD-related cognitive decline. Methods: Previously, we have reported that NDAN present with preserved neurogenesis and synaptic integrity paralleled by absence of amyloid oligomers at synapses. Using postmortem brain samples from age-matched control subjects, demented AD patients and NDAN individuals, we performed immunofluorescence, western blots, micro transplantation of synaptic membranes in Xenopus oocytes followed by twin electrode voltage clamp electrophysiology and fluorescence assisted single synaptosome-long term potentiation studies. Results: We report decreased tau oligomers at synapses in the brains of NDAN subjects. Furthermore, using novel approaches we report, for the first time, that such absence of tau oligomers at synapses is associated with synaptic functional integrity in NDAN subjects as compared to demented AD patients. Conclusion: Overall, these results give further credence to tau oligomers as primary actors of synaptic destruction underscoring cognitive demise in AD and support their targeting as a viable therapeutic strategy for AD and related tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1661-1678
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive reserve
  • electrophysiology
  • flow cytometry
  • immunofluorescence
  • synapses
  • synaptosomes
  • tauopathy
  • western blotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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