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J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;41(1):85-99. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131805.

Selenomethionine ameliorates cognitive decline, reduces tau hyperphosphorylation, and reverses synaptic deficit in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1College of Life Sciences, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China.


Disruption of the intracellular balance between free radicals and the antioxidant system is a prominent and early feature in the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Selenium, a vital trace element with known antioxidant potential, has been reported to provide neuroprotection through resisting oxidative damage but its therapeutic effect on AD remains to be investigated. The objective of our study was to investigate the potential of selenomethionine (Se-Met), an organic form of selenium, in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction and neuropathology of triple transgenic AD (3 × Tg-AD) mice. 3 × Tg-AD mice, which were four months old, were treated with Se-Met for 3 months and demonstrated significant improvements in cognitive deficit along with an increased selenium level compared with the untreated control mice. Se-Met treatment significantly reduced the level of total tau and phosphorylated tau, mitigated the decrease of synaptic proteins including synaptophysin and postsynaptic density protein 95 in the hippocampus and cortex of the 3 × Tg-AD mice. Meanwhile, glial activation in AD mice was inhibited and the level of reduced glutathione was increased in the treated mice compared with control mice. Additionally, the expression and activity of glycogen synthase kinase 3β and protein phosphatase 2A, two important enzymes involved in tau phosphorylation, were markedly decreased and increased respectively by Se-Met treatment. Thus Se-Met improves cognitive deficit in a murine model of AD, which is associated with reduction in tau expression and hyperphosphorylation, amelioration of inflammation, and restoration of synaptic proteins and antioxidants. This study provides a novel therapeutic approach for the prevention of AD.


Alzheimer's disease; selenomethionine; tau; transgenic mouse model

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