Amyloid-Beta Mediates Homeostatic Synaptic Plasticity

J Neurosci. 2021 Jun 16;41(24):5157-5172. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1820-20.2021. Epub 2021 Apr 29.


The physiological role of the amyloid-precursor protein (APP) is insufficiently understood. Recent work has implicated APP in the regulation of synaptic plasticity. Substantial evidence exists for a role of APP and its secreted ectodomain APPsα in Hebbian plasticity. Here, we addressed the relevance of APP in homeostatic synaptic plasticity using organotypic tissue cultures prepared from APP -/- mice of both sexes. In the absence of APP, dentate granule cells failed to strengthen their excitatory synapses homeostatically. Homeostatic plasticity is rescued by amyloid-β and not by APPsα, and it is neither observed in APP+/+ tissue treated with β- or γ-secretase inhibitors nor in synaptopodin-deficient cultures lacking the Ca2+-dependent molecular machinery of the spine apparatus. Together, these results suggest a role of APP processing via the amyloidogenic pathway in homeostatic synaptic plasticity, representing a function of relevance for brain physiology as well as for brain states associated with increased amyloid-β levels.

Keywords: APP processing; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-beta; homeostatic plasticity; sAPPalpha; secretases.