Hippocampal mutant APP and amyloid beta-induced cognitive decline, dendritic spine loss, defective autophagy, mitophagy and mitochondrial abnormalities in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Maria Manczak, Ramesh Kandimalla, Xiangling Yin, P (Hemachandra) Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


The purpose of our study was to determine the toxic effects of hippocampal mutant APP and amyloid beta (Ab) in 12-monthold APP transgenic mice. Using rotarod and Morris water maze tests, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence, Golgi-cox staining and transmission electron microscopy, we assessed cognitive behavior, protein levels of synaptic, autophagy, mitophagy, mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis, dendritic protein MAP2 and quantified dendritic spines and mitochondrial number and length in 12-month-old APP mice that express Swedish mutation. Mitochondrial function was assessed by measuring the levels of hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation, cytochrome c oxidase activity and mitochondrial ATP. Morris water maze and rotarod tests revealed that hippocampal learning and memory and motor learning and coordination were impaired in APP mice relative to wild-type (WT) mice. Increased levels of mitochondrial fission proteins, Drp1 and Fis1 and decreased levels of fusion (Mfn1, Mfn2 and Opa1) biogenesis (PGC1α, NRF1, NRF2 and TFAM), autophagy (ATG5 and LC3BI, LC3BII), mitophagy (PINK1 and TERT), synaptic (synaptophysin and PSD95) and dendritic (MAP2) proteins were found in 12-monthold APP mice relative to age-matched non-transgenic WT mice. Golgi-cox staining analysis revealed that dendritic spines are significantly reduced. Transmission electron microscopy revealed significantly increased mitochondrial numbers and reduced mitochondrial length in APP mice. These findings suggest that hippocampal accumulation of mutant APP and Aβ is responsible for abnormal mitochondrial dynamics and defective biogenesis, reduced MAP2, autophagy, mitophagy and synaptic proteins and reduced dendritic spines and hippocampal-based learning and memory impairments, and mitochondrial structural and functional changes in 12-month-old APP mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1342
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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