Amyloid beta and impairment in multiple memory systems in older transgenic APP TgCRND8 mice

A Hanna, P Horne, D Yager, C Eckman, E Eckman, C Janus
Genes, Brain, and Behavior 2009, 8 (7): 676-84
The relationship between amyloid beta and cognitive dysfunction in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease has been evaluated predominantly with the spatial reference memory version of the water maze task. However, as Alzheimer's disease encompasses decline in multiple memory systems, it is important to also utilize non-spatial tasks to fully characterize the role of amyloid on behaviour in animal models. We used the TgCRND8 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease to evaluate the effect of amyloid on spatial reference memory, as well as on the non-spatial task of acquisition of conditioned taste aversion, and on the procedural task of swimming to a visible platform. We demonstrate that 8- to 12-month-old TgCRND8 mice are significantly impaired in all three tasks, and that the levels of soluble amyloid beta are significantly correlated with impairment in spatial reference memory, but not with impairment in conditioned taste aversion or swimming to a visible platform. Insoluble fractions of amyloid, which correspond closely to amyloid plaque burden in the brain, are not associated with any behavioural measure. Our study extends the characterization of the model to stages of advanced amyloid pathology and demonstrates that older TgCRND8 mice are impaired in multiple memory systems, including procedural tasks, which are spared at younger ages. The lack of association between amyloid plaques and memory decline supports clinical findings in Alzheimer's patients.

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