Mechanisms of Hyperexcitability in Alzheimer's Disease hiPSC-derived Neurons and Cerebral Organoids vs Isogenic Controls

Elife. 2019 Nov 29;8:e50333. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50333.


Human Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains and transgenic AD mouse models manifest hyperexcitability. This aberrant electrical activity is caused by synaptic dysfunction that represents the major pathophysiological correlate of cognitive decline. However, the underlying mechanism for this excessive excitability remains incompletely understood. To investigate the basis for the hyperactivity, we performed electrophysiological and immunofluorescence studies on hiPSC-derived cerebrocortical neuronal cultures and cerebral organoids bearing AD-related mutations in presenilin-1 or amyloid precursor protein vs. isogenic gene corrected controls. In the AD hiPSC-derived neurons/organoids, we found increased excitatory bursting activity, which could be explained in part by a decrease in neurite length. AD hiPSC-derived neurons also displayed increased sodium current density and increased excitatory and decreased inhibitory synaptic activity. Our findings establish hiPSC-derived AD neuronal cultures and organoids as a relevant model of early AD pathophysiology and provide mechanistic insight into the observed hyperexcitability.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cerebral organoids; hiPSC derived neuronal cultures; human; hyperexcitability; neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Size
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebrum / cytology*
  • Cortical Excitability*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Organoids
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics


  • APP protein, human
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Mutant Proteins
  • PSEN1 protein, human
  • Presenilin-1