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Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Jan;35(1):88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.07.007. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

L-type Ca2+ currents at CA1 synapses, but not CA3 or dentate granule neuron synapses, are increased in 3xTgAD mice in an age-dependent manner.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address: wangyu@grc.nia.nih.gov.

Abstract

Abnormal neuronal excitability and impaired synaptic plasticity might occur before the degeneration and death of neurons in Alzheimer's disease (AD). To elucidate potential biophysical alterations underlying aberrant neuronal network activity in AD, we performed whole-cell patch clamp analyses of L-type (nifedipine-sensitive) Ca(2+) currents (L-VGCC), 4-aminopyridine-sensitive K(+) currents, and AMPA (2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid) and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) currents in CA1, CA3, and dentate granule neurons in hippocampal slices from young, middle-age, and old 3xTgAD mice and age-matched wild type mice. 3xTgAD mice develop progressive widespread accumulation of amyloid β-peptide, and selective hyperphosphorylated tau pathology in hippocampal CA1 neurons, which are associated with cognitive deficits, but independent of overt neuronal degeneration. An age-related elevation of L-type Ca(2+) channel current density occurred in CA1 neurons in 3xTgAD mice, but not in wild type mice, with the magnitude being significantly greater in older 3xTgAD mice. The NMDA current was also significantly elevated in CA1 neurons of old 3xTgAD mice compared with in old wild type mice. There were no differences in the amplitude of K(+) or AMPA currents in CA1 neurons of 3xTgAD mice compared with wild type mice at any age. There were no significant differences in Ca(2+), K(+), AMPA, or NMDA currents in CA3 and dentate neurons from 3xTgAD mice compared with wild type mice at any age. Our results reveal an age-related increase of L-VGCC density in CA1 neurons, but not in CA3 or dentate granule neurons, of 3xTgAD mice. These findings suggest a potential contribution of altered L-VGCC to the selective vulnerability of CA1 neurons to tau pathology in the 3xTgAD mice and to their degeneration in AD patients.

KEYWORDS:

3xTgAD mice; Aging; CA1; L-type Ca(2+) currents

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