JOURNAL ARTICLE

Modulation of the MAPKs pathways affects Aβ-induced cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease via activation of α7nAChR

Ke-Wei Chang, Hang-Fan Zong, Mohammad Yasir Rizvi, Kai-Ge Ma, Wanying Zhai, Meng Wang, Wei-Na Yang, Sheng-Feng Ji, Yi-Hua Qian
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 2020 January 2, : 107154
31904546
Cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by being deficient at learning and memory. Aβ1-42 oligomers have been shown to impair rodent cognitive function. We previously demonstrated that activation of α7nAChR, inhibition of p38 or JNK could alleviate Aβ-induced memory deficits in Y maze test. In this study, we investigated whether the effects of α7nAChR and MAPKs on Y maze test is reproducible with a hippocampus-dependent spatial memory test such as Morris water maze. We also assessed the possible co-existence of hippocampus-independent recognition memory dysfunction using a novel object recognition test and an alternative and stress free hippocampus-dependent recognition memory test such as the novel place recognition. Besides, previous research from our lab has shown that MAPKs pathways regulate Aβ internalization through mediating α7nAChR. In our study, whether MAPKs pathways exert their functions in cognition by modulating α7nAChR through regulating glutamate receptors and synaptic protein, remain little known. Our results showed that activation of α7nAChR restored spatial memory, novel place recognition memory, and short-term and long-term memory in novel object recognition. Inhibition of p38 restored spatial memory and short-term and long-term memory in novel object recognition. Inhibition of ERK restored short-term memory in novel object recognition and novel place recognition memory. Inhibition of JNK restored spatial memory, short-term memory in novel object recognition and novel place recognition memory. Beside this, the activation of α7nAChR, inhibition of p38 or JNK restored Aβ-induced levels of NMDAR1, NMDAR2A, NMDAR2B, GluR1, GluR2 and PSD95 in Aβ-injected mice without influencing synapsin 1. In addition, these treatments also recovered the expression of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Finally, we found that the inhibition of p38 or JNK resulted in the upregulation of α7nAChR mRNA levels in the hippocampus. Our results indicated that inhibition of p38 or JNK MAPKs could alleviate Aβ-induced spatial memory deficits through regulating activation of α7nAChR via recovering memory-related proteins. Moreover, p38, ERK and JNK MAPKs exert different functions in spatial and recognition memory.

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