Pathology of nNOS-Expressing GABAergic Neurons in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Neuroscience. 2018 Aug 1:384:41-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.05.013. Epub 2018 May 19.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia that is often accompanied by mood and emotional disturbances and seizures. There is growing body of evidence that neurons expressing γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) play an important role in regulation of cognition, mood, and emotion as well as seizure susceptibility, but participation of GABAergic neuronal pathology in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is not understood well at present. Here, we report that transgenic mice expressing human amyloid precursor protein Swedish-Dutch-Iowa mutant (APPSweDI) exhibit early loss of neurons expressing GAD67, a GABA-synthesizing enzyme, in advance of the loss of pyramidal neurons in hippocampal CA1 region. The loss of GAD67+ neurons in APPSweDI mice accompanied with decreased spatial cognition as well as increased anxiety-like behaviors and kainic acid-induced seizure susceptibility at early phase. In the hippocampal CA1 region, GAD67+ neurons expressed high basal levels of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and nitrosative stress (nitrotyrosine). Similarly, GAD67+ neurons in primary cortical and hippocampal neuron cultures also expressed high basal levels of nNOS and degenerated in response to lower Aβ concentrations due to their high basal levels of nitrosative stress. Given the role of GABAergic neurons in cognitive and neuropsychiatric functions, this study reports the role of nNOS-mediated nitrosative stress in dysfunction of GABAergic neurons and its potential participation in early development of cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD.

Keywords: GABAergic neurons; amyloid-β (Aβ); hippocampus; nNOS; nitrosative stress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • GABAergic Neurons / pathology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I