Neuropathological changes in brain cortex and hippocampus in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease

Iran Biomed J. 2011;15(1-2):51-8.


Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with progressive loss of cognitive abilities and memory loss. The aim of this study was to compare neuropathological changes in hippocampus and brain cortex in a rat model of AD.

Methods: Adult male Albino Wistar rats (weighing 250-300 g) were used for behavioral and histopathological studies. The rats were randomly assigned to three groups: control, sham and Beta amyloid (ABeta) injection. For behavioral analysis, Y-maze and shuttle box were used, respectively at 14 and 16 days post-lesion. For histological studies, Nissl, modified Bielschowsky and modified Congo red staining were performed. The lesion was induced by injection of 4 muL of ABeta (1-40) into the hippocampal fissure.

Results: In the present study, ABeta (1-40) injection into hippocampus could decrease the behavioral indexes and the number of CA1 neurons in hippocampus. ABeta injection CA1 caused ABeta deposition in the hippocampus and less than in cortex. We observed the loss of neurons in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex and certain subcortical regions. Y-maze test and single-trial passive avoidance test showed reduced memory retention in AD group.

Conclusion: We found a significant decreased acquisition of passive avoidance and alternation behavior responses in AD group compared to control and sham group (P<0.0001). Compacted amyloid cores were present in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and white matter, whereas, scattered amyloid cores were seen in cortex and hippocampus of AD group. Also, reduced neuronal density was indicated in AD group.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Hippocampus; β-amyloid; Neuropathological changes.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Death
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Congo Red
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Congo Red