Neurites that pass through amyloid-β deposits in Alzheimer disease (AD) undergo 3 changes: they develop phosphorylated tau immunoreactivity; the density of SMI-32-positive dendrites diminishes; and they also develop a marked alteration in their geometric features, changing from being nearly straight to being quite curvy. The extent to which the latter 2 phenomena are related to phosphorylated tau is unknown. We have now examined whether amyloid-β deposits in APP695Sw transgenic mice, which have only rare phosphorylated tau containing neurites, develop these changes. We found that dendritic density is diminished within the boundaries of amyloid-β plaques, with the greatest loss (about 80%, p < 0.001) within the boundaries of thioflavine S cores. Remaining dendrites within plaques develop substantial morphological alterations quantitatively similar to those seen in AD. A statistically significant but smaller degree of change in geometry was seen in the immediate vicinity around plaques, suggesting a propagation of cytoskeletal disruption from the center of the plaque outward. We examined the possible physiological consequences of this change in dendritic geometry using a standard cable-theory model. We found a predicted delay of several milliseconds in about one quarter of the dendrites passing through a thioflavine S plaque. These results are consistent with previous observations in AD, and suggest that thioflavine S-positive amyloid-β deposits have a marked effect on dendritic microarchitecture in the cortex, even in the relative absence of phosphorylated tau alterations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology|
|State||Published - 2001|
- Alzheimer disease
- Neural networks
- Senile plaque