Dendritic Spine Remodeling and Synaptic Tau Levels in PS19 Tauopathy Mice

Academic Article


  • Synapse or dendritic spine loss is the strongest correlate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), but not amyloid-β plaques, associate more closely with transition to mild cognitive impairment. Yet, how dendritic spine architecture is affected by hyperphosphorylated tau is still an ongoing question. To address this, we combined cell and biochemical analyses of the Tau P301S mouse line (PS19). Individual pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) were targeted for iontophoretic microinjection of fluorescent dye, followed by high-resolution confocal microscopy and 3D morphometry analysis. In the hippocampus, PS19 mice and non-transgenic (NTG) littermates displayed equivalent spine density at 6 and 9 months, but both genotypes exhibited age-related thin spine loss. PS19 mice exhibited significant increases in synaptic tau protein levels and mean dendritic spine head diameter with age. This suggests that CA1 pyramidal neurons in PS19 mice may undergo spine remodeling in response to tau accumulation and age. In the mPFC, spine density was similar among PS19 mice and NTG littermates at 6 and 9 months, but age-related reductions in synaptic tau levels were observed among PS19 mice. Collectively, these studies reveal brain region-specific changes in dendritic spine density and morphology in response to age and the presence of hyperphosphorylated tau in the PS19 mouse line.
  • Published In

  • Neuroscience  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Walker CK; Greathouse KM; Boros BD; Poovey EH; Clearman KR; Ramdas R; Muhammad HM; Herskowitz JH
  • Start Page

  • 195
  • End Page

  • 211
  • Volume

  • 455