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J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(2):441-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1230.

A physiological role for amyloid-beta protein:enhancement of learning and memory.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63104, USA.


Amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) is well recognized as having a significant role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The reason for the presence of Abeta and its physiological role in non-disease states is not clear. In these studies, low doses of Abeta enhanced memory retention in two memory tasks and enhanced acetylecholine production in the hippocampus in vivo. We then tested whether endogenous Abeta has a role in learning and memory in young, cognitively intact mice by blocking endogenous Abeta in healthy 2-month-old CD-1 mice. Blocking Abeta with antibody to Abeta or DFFVG (which blocks Abeta binding) or decreasing Abeta expression with antisense directed at the Abeta precursor, AbetaPP, all resulted in impaired learning in T-maze foot-shock avoidance. Finally, Abeta 1-42 facilitated induction and maintenance of long term potentiation in hippocampal slices, whereas antibodies to Abeta inhibited hippocampal LTP. In conclusion, these results indicate that in normal healthy young animals the presence of Abeta is important for learning and memory.

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