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J Neurosci Res. 1998 Jan 15;51(2):185-95.

Involvement of amyloid precursor protein in functional synapse formation in cultured hippocampal neurons.

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Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Neuroscience, Tokyo, Japan.


Amyloid precursor protein (APP) is known to be widely expressed in neuronal cells, and enriched in the central and peripheral synaptic sites. Although it has been proposed that APP functions in synaptogenesis, no direct evidence has yet been reported. In this study we investigated the involvement of APP in functional synapse formation by monitoring spontaneous oscillations of intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in cultured hippocampal neurons. As more and more neurons form synapses with each other during the culture period, increasing numbers of neuronal cells show synchronized spontaneous oscillations of [Ca2+]i. The number of neurons that showed synchronized spontaneous oscillations of [Ca2+]i was significantly lower when cultured in the presence of monoclonal antibody 22C11 against the N-terminal portion of APP. Moreover, incubation with excess amounts of the secretory form of APP or the N-terminal fragment of APP also inhibited the increase in number of neurons with synchronized spontaneous oscillations of [Ca2+]i. The addition of monoclonal antibody 22C11 or secretory form of APP did not, however, affect MAP-2-positive neurite outgrowth. These findings suggest that APP play a role in functional synapse formation during CNS development.

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