Pore-former enabled seeding of tau in rats: Alleviation by memantine and lithium chloride

J Neurosci Methods. 2019 May 1;319:47-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.11.009. Epub 2018 Nov 16.


Background Tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), are multifactorial diseases with strong phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Recent evidence revealed that mechanisms of pathogenesis of early (hereditary) and late (sporadic) forms of AD are different. This is not properly reflected in current experimental models, especially when it comes to sporadic forms of AD. Here, we present novel seeding based model and explore its suitability for therapeutic intervention. New method We validate novel region specific approach to modelling Tau pathology reported by Koss and co-authors (2015). Wistar rats 3, 9 and 15 month-old were surgically prepared for hippocampal loading with pore-former polymeric 1,3-alkylpyridinium salts (Poly-APS) and recombinant human tau including pharmacological inhibition of phosphatase activity by okadaic acid co-administration. We explored whether tau seeding caused molecular and behavioural traits reminiscent of AD and explored their reversibility/prevention by administration of either memantine or lithium. Results The presented model emulates several changes observed in progressive dementia such as: heightened levels of tau and its hyperphosphorylation, changes in tau compartmentalization, breakdown of the cytoskeleton, cognitive impairments, and sensitivity for anti-dementia treatment. Comparison with existing methods Seeding has been achieved in transgenic mouse models, but this is the first rat model significantly mimicking cognitive and neuronal changes akin to tauopathies. Moreover, we have successfully included the factor age in our model and can show sensitivity to drug treatment. Conclusions These data validate a novel model of locally infused recombinant human Tau as an inducer of tauopathy in rats and holds the potential for development of novel therapies.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Cytoskeleton; Hippocampal CA1 area; Lithium chloride; Memantine; Poly-APS; Spatial learning; Tau and phospho-Tau; Tauopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / drug effects
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Lithium Chloride / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Memantine / administration & dosage*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / metabolism*
  • Pyridinium Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Pyridinium Compounds / metabolism*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Tauopathies / metabolism*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • MAPT protein, human
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Polymers
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • poly-APS
  • tau Proteins
  • Lithium Chloride
  • Memantine