A reversible early oxidized redox state that precedes macromolecular ROS damage in aging nontransgenic and 3xTg-AD mouse neurons

J Neurosci. 2012 Apr 25;32(17):5821-32. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6192-11.2012.


The brain depends on redox electrons from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced form; NADH) to produce ATP and oxyradicals (reactive oxygen species [ROS]). Because ROS damage and mitochondrial dysregulation are prominent in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their relationship to the redox state is unclear, we wanted to know whether an oxidative redox shift precedes these markers and leads to macromolecular damage in a mouse model of AD. We used the 3xTg-AD mouse model, which displays cognitive deficits beginning at 4 months. Hippocampal/cortical neurons were isolated across the age span and cultured in common nutrients to control for possible hormonal and vascular differences. We found an increase of NAD(P)H levels and redox state in nontransgenic (non-Tg) neurons until middle age, followed by a decline in old age. The 3xTg-AD neurons maintained much lower resting NAD(P)H and redox states after 4 months, but the NADH regenerating capacity continuously declined with age beginning at 2 months. These redox characteristics were partially reversible with nicotinamide, a biosynthetic precursor of NAD+. Nicotinamide also protected against glutamate excitotoxicity. Compared with non-Tg neurons, 3xTg-AD neurons had more mitochondria/neuron and lower glutathione (GSH) levels that preceded age-related increases in ROS levels. These GSH deficits were again reversible with nicotinamide in 3xTg-AD neurons. Surprisingly, low macromolecular ROS damage was only elevated after 4 months in the 3xTg-AD neurons if antioxidants were removed. The present data suggest that a more oxidized redox state and a lower antioxidant GSH defense can be dissociated from neuronal ROS damage, changes that precede the onset of cognitive deficits in the 3xTg-AD model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation / genetics
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology
  • Oxidants / pharmacology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B Complex / pharmacology
  • tau Proteins / genetics


  • Adenine Nucleotides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Oxidants
  • PSEN1 protein, human
  • Presenilin-1
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • tau Proteins
  • NAD
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Niacinamide
  • Cytochromes c
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Glutathione
  • Calcium