Objective: Recent evidence suggests that high molecular weight soluble oligomeric Abeta (oAbeta) assemblies (also known as Abeta-derived diffusible ligands, or ADDLs) may represent a primary neurotoxic basis for cognitive failure in Alzheimer disease (AD). To date, most in vivo studies of oAbeta/ADDLs have involved injection of assemblies purified from the cerebrospinal fluid of human subjects with AD or from the conditioned media of Abeta-secreting cells into experimental animals. We sought to study the bioactivities of endogenously formed oAbeta/ADDLs generated in situ from the physiological processing of human amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenitin1 (PS1) transgenes.
Methods: We produced and histologically characterized single transgenic mice overexpressing APP(E693Q) or APP(E693Q) X PS1DeltaE9 bigenic mice. APP(E693Q) mice were studied in the Morris water maze (MWM) task at 6 and 12 months of age. Following the second MWM evaluation, mice were sacrificed, and brains were assayed for Abetatotal, Abeta40, Abeta42, and oAbeta/ADDLs by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and were also histologically examined. Based on results from the oAbeta/ADDL ELISA, we assigned individual APP(E693Q) mice to either an undetectable oAbeta/ADDLs group or a readily detectable oAbeta/ADDLs group. A days to criterion (DTC) analysis was used to determine delays in acquisition of the MWM task.
Results: Both single transgenic and bigenic mice developed intraneuronal accumulation of APP/Abeta, although only APP(E693Q) X PS1Delta9 bigenic mice developed amyloid plaques. The APP(E693Q) mice did not develop amyloid plaques at any age studied, up to 30 months. APP(E693Q) mice were tested for spatial learning and memory, and only 12-month-old APP(E693Q) mice with readily detectable oAbeta/ADDLs displayed a significant delay in acquisition of the MWM task when compared to nontransgenic littermates.
Interpretation: These data suggest that cerebral oAbeta/ADDL assemblies generated in brain in situ from human APP transgenes may be associated with cognitive impairment. We propose that a DTC analysis may be a sensitive method for assessing the cognitive impact in mice of endogenously generated oligomeric human Abeta assemblies. ANN NEUROL 2010.