Hippocampal mossy fibers synapses in CA3 pyramidal cells are altered at an early stage in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Journal of Neuroscience. 2019-03-18; :
Early Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects the brain non-uniformly, causing hippocampal memory deficits long before wide-spread brain degeneration becomes evident. Here we addressed whether mossy fiber inputs from the dentate gyrus onto CA3 principal cells are affected in an AD mouse model prior to amyloid β plaque deposition. We recorded from CA3 pyramidal cells in a slice preparation from 6-months old male APP/PS1 mice, and studied synaptic properties and intrinsic excitability. In parallel we performed a morphometric analysis of mossy fiber synapses following viral based labeling and 3D-reconstruction. We found that the basal structural and functional properties as well as presynaptic short-term plasticity at mossy fiber synapses are unaltered at 6 months in APP/PS1 mice. However, transient potentiation of synaptic transmission mediated by activity-dependent release of lipids was abolished. Whereas the presynaptic form of mossy fiber long-term potentiation (LTP) was not affected, the postsynaptic LTP of NMDAR-EPSCs was reduced. In addition, we also report an impairment in feedforward inhibition in CA3 pyramidal cells. This study, together with our previous work describing deficits at CA3-CA3 synapses, provides evidence that early AD affects synapses in a projection dependent manner at the level of a single neuronal population.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTBecause loss of episodic memory is considered the cognitive hallmark of AD, it is important to study whether synaptic circuits involved in the encoding of episodic memory are compromised in AD mouse models. Here we probe alterations in the synaptic connections between the dentate gyrus and CA3, which are thought to be critical for enabling episodic memories to be formed and stored in CA3. We found that forms of synaptic plasticity specific to these synaptic connections are markedly impaired at an early stage in a mouse model of AD, prior to deposition of β amyloid plaques. Together with previous work describing deficits at CA3-CA3 synapses, we provide evidence that early AD affects synapses in an input-dependent manner within a single neuronal population.