A physiological role for amyloid-beta protein:enhancement of learning and memory

J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(2):441-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1230.


Amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) is well recognized as having a significant role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The reason for the presence of Abeta and its physiological role in non-disease states is not clear. In these studies, low doses of Abeta enhanced memory retention in two memory tasks and enhanced acetylecholine production in the hippocampus in vivo. We then tested whether endogenous Abeta has a role in learning and memory in young, cognitively intact mice by blocking endogenous Abeta in healthy 2-month-old CD-1 mice. Blocking Abeta with antibody to Abeta or DFFVG (which blocks Abeta binding) or decreasing Abeta expression with antisense directed at the Abeta precursor, AbetaPP, all resulted in impaired learning in T-maze foot-shock avoidance. Finally, Abeta 1-42 facilitated induction and maintenance of long term potentiation in hippocampal slices, whereas antibodies to Abeta inhibited hippocampal LTP. In conclusion, these results indicate that in normal healthy young animals the presence of Abeta is important for learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / pharmacology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electrochemical Techniques / methods
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microdialysis / methods
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Peptide Fragments / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antibodies
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Peptides
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • amyloid beta-protein (12-28)
  • Acetylcholine