Background: Alzheimer's disease is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized pathologically by a temporal and spatial progression of beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposition, neurofibrillary tangle formation, and synaptic degeneration. Inflammatory processes have been implicated in initiating and/or propagating AD-associated pathology within the brain, as inflammatory cytokine expression and other markers of inflammation are pronounced in individuals with AD pathology. The current study examines whether inflammatory processes are evident early in the disease process in the 3xTg-AD mouse model and if regional differences in inflammatory profiles exist.
Methods: Coronal brain sections were used to identify Abeta in 2, 3, and 6-month 3xTg-AD and non-transgenic control mice. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR was performed on microdissected entorhinal cortex and hippocampus tissue of 2, 3, and 6-month 3xTg-AD and non-transgenic mice. Microglial/macrophage cell numbers were quantified using unbiased stereology in 3xTg-AD and non-transgenic entorhinal cortex and hippocampus containing sections.
Results: We observed human Abeta deposition at 3 months in 3xTg-AD mice which is enhanced by 6 months of age. Interestingly, we observed a 14.8-fold up-regulation of TNF-alpha and 10.8-fold up-regulation of MCP-1 in the entorhinal cortex of 3xTg-AD mice but no change was detected over time in the hippocampus or in either region of non-transgenic mice. Additionally, this increase correlated with a specific increase in F4/80-positive microglia and macrophages in 3xTg-AD entorhinal cortex.
Conclusion: Our data provide evidence for early induction of inflammatory processes in a model that develops amyloid and neurofibrillary tangle pathology. Additionally, our results link inflammatory processes within the entorhinal cortex, which represents one of the earliest AD-affected brain regions.