Human LRRK2 G2019S mutation represses post-synaptic protein PSD95 and causes cognitive impairment in transgenic mice

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2017 Jul;142(Pt B):182-189. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2017.05.001. Epub 2017 May 6.


Background: LRRK2 G2019S mutation is associated with increased kinase activity and is the most common mutation associated with late-onset PD. However, the transgenic mouse model has not recapitulated cardinal PD-related motor phenotypes. Non-motor symptoms of PD including cognitive impairments are very common and may appear earlier than the motor symptoms. The objective of this study was to determine whether human LRRK2 with G2019S mutation causes hippocampus-dependent cognitive deficits in mice.

Results: Male (LRRK2-G2019S) LRRK2-Tg mice showed impairments in the early portion of the Two-day radial arm water maze acquisition trial as well as in the reversal learning on the third day. However, their performance was similar to Non-Tg controls in the probe trial. LRRK2-Tg mice also displayed impairments in the novel arm discrimination test but not in the spontaneous alternation test in Y-maze. Interestingly, there was no statistically significant locomotor impairment during any of these cognitive test, nor in the locomotor tests including open field, accelerating rotarod and pole tests. Expression of the postsynaptic protein PSD-95 but not the presynaptic protein synaptophysin was lower in hippocampal homogenates of LRRK2-Tg mice.

Conclusion: Consistent with previous reports in human LRRK2 G2019S carriers, the current data suggests that cognitive dysfunctions are present in LRRK2-Tg mice even in the absence of locomotor impairment. LRRK2 G2019S mutation represses the postsynaptic protein PSD-95 but not the presynaptic protein synaptophysin. This study also suggests that mild cognitive impairment may appear earlier than motor dysfunctions in LRRK2-G2019S mutation carriers.

Keywords: Cognitive impairment; Hippocampus; LRRK2; Learning and memory; Parkinson’s disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2 / genetics*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Reversal Learning / physiology


  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein
  • Dlg4 protein, mouse
  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2