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Neuroscience. 1997 Sep;80(2):313-20.

Synaptic beta-amyloid precursor proteins increase with learning capacity in rats.

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Pharma Division, Preclinical CNS Research, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.


The precursor proteins of Alzheimer's disease beta-amyloid peptide, the beta-amyloid precursor protein isoforms, comprise a family of neuronal proteins with synaptic localization whose physiological roles in brain are poorly understood. One possible role for synaptic proteins is involvement in neuronal plasticity. After exposure to an enriched environment compared to impoverished conditions, rats exhibited superior cognitive capacity. Up to approximately four-fold increased overall levels of beta-amyloid precursor proteins were found in cortical/subcortical tissue of the enriched animals displaying significantly more synapses immunoreactive for the different beta-amyloid precursor protein isoforms (beta-amyloid precursor protein695- and beta-amyloid precursor protein751/770) in hippocampus and adjacent occipital cortex. This correlation thus provides in vivo evidence for an association of beta-amyloid precursor proteins with plastic changes induced by complex environment with consequences for cognitive functions and suggests that impaired beta-amyloid precursor protein metabolism at synapses might contribute to brain dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.

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