By PAULA SPAN
29 August 2012
News about our knowledge of the brain and behavior
from Anthony Risser, Ph.D.
The objective of this study is to examine whether neuron loss occurs in SAMP8 and whether neuron loss is correlated with cognitive deficits of these mice. Neuronal loss is considered as one of the most important pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD). In addition to the early-onset, irreversible, severe deficits of learning and memory, SAMP8 mice show spontaneous age-related neurodegenerative changes and other characteristics seen in AD patients, such as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. However, it is still unknown whether neuron loss occurs in SAMP8 and whether neuron loss is correlated with cognitive deficits of these mice. We employed 8-month-old SAMP8 and SAMR1 mice to investigate the cognitive function and neuron numbers. The behaviors were examined by the grading score of senescence and Morris water maze (MWM) test, the neuron number in hippocampus was estimated by the optical fractionator technique. The grading score of senescence and MWM test demonstrated that SAMP8 exhibited notable age-related changes in appearance and cognitive function. Moreover, severe hippocampal neuron loss was found in SAMP8 as determined by the optical fractionator stereological method. Compared to SAMR1, the neuron number of CA1, CA3 and DG in SAMP8 was reduced by 15.6, 19.8 and 20.2 %, respectively, and the neuron loss in hippocampus was associated with cognitive deficits. Collectively, these results suggest that hippocampal neuronal loss is well correlated with learning and memory deficits in SAMP8 and SAMP8 represents an important mouse model for AD.
PMID: 22872064 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]