Different dendrite and dendritic spine alterations in basal and apical arbors in mutant human amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice

Alán Alpár, Uwe Ueberham, Martina K. Brückner, Gudrun Seeger, Thomas Arendt, Ulrich Gärtner

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The extracellular deposition of amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) in brain parenchyma is one of the characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease and is suggested to induce reactive and degenerative changes in neuronal cell bodies, axons and dendritic processes. In particular, within and in close proximity to amyloid plaques, distinctive morphological alterations have been observed, including changes in neurite trajectory and decreases in dendritic diameter and in spine density. Apart from these plaque-associated focal aberrations, little is known regarding modifications of the global dendritic morphology including the detailed and comparative quantitative analysis of apical and basal arbors. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of amyloid plaque deposition and elevated soluble Aβ on neuronal morphology in mutant human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice (line Tg2576; [K. Hsiao, P. Chapman, S. Nilsen, C. Eckman, Y. Harigaya, S. Younkin, F. Yang, G. Cole, Correlative memory deficits, Abeta elevation, and amyloid plaques in transgenic mice, Science 274 (1996) 99-102]). Retrogradelly labeled callosal-projecting pyramidal cells in the primary somatosensory cortex were three-dimensionally analyzed. Although basal dendrites remained unaffected, analysis of apical trees revealed a number of unambiguous morphological changes. Thus, in TG2576 mice, the apical arbors were shortened in total length and less branched. Furthermore, the diameter of proximal dendritic segments was increased whereas that of distal segments was reduced. Analysis of spine numbers and distribution on basal and apical trees demonstrated a significant reduction in spine densities along the whole course of dendrites. The findings suggest that Aβ-related pathology induces morphological aberrations in basal and apical arbors to different degrees which are unrelated to direct plaque-associated changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 12 2006



  • APP
  • Morphology
  • Neocortex
  • Plasticity
  • Pyramidal neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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