Staged decline of neuronal function in vivo in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease

Nat Commun. 2012 Apr 10;3:774. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1783.


The accumulation of amyloid-β in the brain is an essential feature of Alzheimer's disease. However, the impact of amyloid-β-accumulation on neuronal dysfunction on the single cell level in vivo is poorly understood. Here we investigate the progression of amyloid-β load in relation to neuronal dysfunction in the visual system of the APP23×PS45 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging in the visual cortex, we demonstrate that a progressive deterioration of neuronal tuning for the orientation of visual stimuli occurs in parallel with the age-dependent increase of the amyloid-β load. Importantly, we find this deterioration only in neurons that are hyperactive during spontaneous activity. This impairment of visual cortical circuit function also correlates with pronounced deficits in visual-pattern discrimination. Together, our results identify distinct stages of decline in sensory cortical performance in vivo as a function of the increased amyloid-β-load.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / physiology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides