Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-related neurological disorder characterized by synaptic loss and dementia. The low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) is an essential coreceptor for Wnt signaling, and its genetic variants have been linked to AD risk. Here we report that neuronal LRP6-mediated Wnt signaling is critical for synaptic function and cognition. Conditional deletion of Lrp6 gene in mouse forebrain neurons leads to age-dependent deficits in synaptic integrity and memory. Neuronal LRP6 deficiency in an amyloid mouse model also leads to exacerbated amyloid pathology due to increased APP processing to amyloid-β. In humans, LRP6 and Wnt signaling are significantly downregulated in AD brains, likely by a mechanism that depends on amyloid-β. Our results define a critical pathway in which decreased LRP6-mediated Wnt signaling, synaptic dysfunction, and elevated Aβ synergistically accelerate AD progression and suggest that restoring LRP6-mediated Wnt signaling can be explored as a viable strategy for AD therapy.
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