Neurosteroid PREGS protects neurite growth and survival of newborn neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of APPswe/PS1dE9 mice

Curr Alzheimer Res. 2012 Mar;9(3):361-72. doi: 10.2174/156720512800107591.


Neurosteroids pregnenolone-sulfate (PREGS) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) have been shown to enhance neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) of adult rodents. In Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, the levels of these neurosteroids are known to be altered compared to age-matched non-demented controls. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of PREGS and DHEA on the hippocampal neurogenesis in 8-month-old male APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic (APP/PS1) mice that show amyloid plaques and impaired spatial cognitive performance. In the DG of APP/PS1 mice the proliferation of progenitor cells was increased, while the neurite growth and survival of newborn neuronal cells were markedly impaired. Treatment with PREGS or DHEA rescued perfectly the hypoplastic neurite of newborn neurons in APP/PS1 mice, while neither of them affected the over-proliferation of progenitor cells. Notably, the administration of PREGS, but not DHEA, to APP/PS1 mice could protect the survival and maturation of newborn neuronal cells, which was accompanied by the improvement of spatial cognitive performance. The results indicate that treatment of AD like brains of APP/PS1 mice with PREGS might protect the hippocampal neurogenesis, leading to the improved spatial cognitive performance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / drug effects*
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neurites / drug effects
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / drug effects*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Pregnenolone / pharmacology*


  • pregnenolone sulfate
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Pregnenolone