Electrophysiological characterization of networks and single cells in the hippocampal region of a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer’s disease
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The hippocampus and entorhinal cortex (EC) are areas affected early and severely in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and this is associated with deficits in episodic memory. Amyloid-β (Aβ), the main protein found in amyloid plaques, can affect neuronal physiology and excitability, and several AD mouse models with memory impairments display aberrant network activity, including hyperexcitability and seizures. In this study, we investigated single cell physiology in EC and network activity in EC and dentate gyrus (DG) in the McGill-R-Thy1-APP transgenic rat model, using whole-cell patch clamp recordings and voltage-sensitive dye imaging (VSDI) in acute slices. In slices from transgenic animals up to 4 months of age, the majority of the principal neurons in Layer II of EC, fan cells and stellate cells, expressed intracellular Aβ (iAβ). Whereas the electrophysiological properties of fan cells were unaltered, stellate cells were more excitable in transgenic than in control rats. Stimulation in the DG resulted in comparable patterns in both groups at three and nine months, but at 12 months, the elicited responses in the transgenic group showed a significant preference for the enclosed blade, without any change in overall excitability. Only transient changes in the local network activity were seen in the medial EC (MEC). Although the observed changes in the McGill rat model are subtle, they are specific, pointing to a differential and selective involvement of specific parts of the hippocampal circuitry in Aβ pathology.