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Hippocampal neural circuit connectivity alterations in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model revealed by monosynaptic rabies virus tracing.

  • Ye, Qiao
  • Gast, Gocylen
  • Su, Xilin
  • Saito, Takashi
  • Saido, Takaomi C
  • Holmes, Todd C
  • Xu, Xiangmin
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with growing major health impacts, particularly in countries with aging populations. The examination of neural circuit mechanisms in AD mouse models is a recent focus for identifying new AD treatment strategies. We hypothesize that age-progressive changes of both long-range and local hippocampal neural circuit connectivity occur in AD. Recent advancements in viral-genetic technologies provide new opportunities for semi-quantitative mapping of cell-type-specific neural circuit connections in AD mouse models. We applied a recently developed monosynaptic rabies tracing method to hippocampal neural circuit mapping studies in AD model mice to determine how local and global circuit connectivity to hippocampal CA1 excitatory neurons may be altered in the single APP knock-in (APP-KI) AD mouse model. To determine age-related AD progression, we measured circuit connectivity in age-matched littermate control and AD model mice at two different ages (3-4 vs. 10-11 months old). We quantitatively mapped the connectivity strengths of neural circuit inputs to hippocampal CA1 excitatory neurons from brain regions including hippocampal subregions, medial septum, subiculum and entorhinal cortex, comparing different age groups and genotypes. We focused on hippocampal CA1 because of its clear relationship with learning and memory and that the hippocampal formation shows clear neuropathological changes in human AD. Our results reveal alterations in circuit connectivity of hippocampal CA1 in AD model mice. Overall, we find weaker extrinsic CA1 input connectivity strengths in AD model mice compared with control mice, including sex differences of reduced subiculum to CA1 inputs in aged female AD mice compared with aged male AD mice. Unexpectedly, we find a connectivity pattern shift with an increased proportion of inputs from the CA3 region to CA1 excitatory neurons when comparing young and old AD model mice, as well as old wild-type mice and old AD model mice. These unexpected shifts in CA3-CA1 input proportions in this AD mouse model suggest the possibility that compensatory circuit increases may occur in response to connectivity losses in other parts of the hippocampal circuits. We expect that this work provides new insights into the neural circuit mechanisms of AD pathogenesis.

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