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Neuroscience. 2008 May 15;153(3):618-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.02.061. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Differential activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathways in the hippocampus of CRND8 transgenic mouse, a model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Dipartimento di Farmacologia, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


Transgenic Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases 8 (TgCRND8) mice expressing a double mutant form of human amyloid precursor protein represent a good model of Alzheimer's disease, and can be useful to clarify the involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) dysregulation in the pathophysiology of this neurodegenerative disorder. Activation of extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2, jun kinase (JNK) and p38MAPK was studied in the hippocampus of 7-month-old TgCRND8 mice by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis using antibodies selective for the phosphorylated, and thus active, forms of the enzymes. We demonstrated that the three main MAPK pathways were differentially activated in cells of the hippocampus of TgCRND8 mice in comparison to wild type (Wt) littermates, p38MAPK and JNK being more activated, while ERK less activated. p38MAPK was significantly activated in microglia, astrocytes and neurons, around and distant from the plaques. JNK was highly activated in cells closely surrounding the plaques. No difference was observed in the activation of the two major bands of JNK, at a molecular weight of 46 kDa and 54 kDa. These data indicate the possible involvement of p38MAPK and JNK pathways dysregulation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. The ERK2 isoform of the ERK pathway was less activated in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of Tg mice in basal conditions. Furthermore activation of the ERK pathway by ex vivo cholinergic stimulation with carbachol caused significantly higher activation of ERK in the hippocampus of Wt mice than in Tg mice. These findings may pose a molecular basis for the memory disruption of Alzheimer's disease, since proper functioning of the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons and of ERK2 is critical for memory formation.

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