mGlu5 receptors and cellular prion protein mediate amyloid-β-facilitated synaptic long-term depression in vivo

Nat Commun. 2014 Mar 4;5:3374. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4374.


NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) are currently regarded as paramount in the potent and selective disruption of synaptic plasticity by Alzheimer's disease amyloid β-protein (Aβ). Non-NMDAR mechanisms remain relatively unexplored. Here we describe how Aβ facilitates NMDAR-independent long-term depression of synaptic transmission in the hippocampus in vivo. Synthetic Aβ and Aβ in soluble extracts of Alzheimer's disease brain usurp endogenous acetylcholine muscarinic receptor-dependent long-term depression, to enable long-term depression that required metabotropic glutamate-5 receptors (mGlu5Rs). We also find that mGlu5Rs are essential for Aβ-mediated inhibition of NMDAR-dependent long-term potentiation in vivo. Blocking Aβ binding to cellular prion protein with antibodies prevents the facilitation of long-term depression. Our findings uncover an overarching role for Aβ-PrP(C)-mGlu5R interplay in mediating both LTD facilitation and LTP inhibition, encompassing NMDAR-mediated processes that were previously considered primary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology*
  • Male
  • Prions / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5 / genetics
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5 / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Prions
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5