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J Neurosci. 2011 Nov 2;31(44):15962-71. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2085-11.2011.

Sensory network dysfunction, behavioral impairments, and their reversibility in an Alzheimer's β-amyloidosis mouse model.

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  • 1Emotional Brain Institute, Nathan S Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, New York 10962, USA.


The unique vulnerability of the olfactory system to Alzheimer's disease (AD) provides a quintessential translational tool for understanding mechanisms of synaptic dysfunction and pathological progression in the disease. Using the Tg2576 mouse model of β-amyloidosis, we show that aberrant, hyperactive olfactory network activity begins early in life, before detectable behavioral impairments or comparable hippocampal dysfunction and at a time when amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition is restricted to the olfactory bulb (OB). Hyperactive odor-evoked activity in the piriform cortex (PCX) and increased OB-PCX functional connectivity emerged at a time coinciding with olfactory behavior impairments. This hyperactive activity persisted until later in life when the network converted to a hyporesponsive state. This conversion was Aβ-dependent, because liver-X receptor agonist treatment to promote Aβ degradation rescued the hyporesponsive state and olfactory behavior. These data lend evidence to a novel working model of olfactory dysfunction in AD and, complimentary to other recent works, suggest that disease-relevant network dysfunction is highly dynamic and region specific, yet with lasting effects on cognition and behavior.

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