Dysregulated clock gene expression and abnormal diurnal regulation of hippocampal inhibitory transmission and spatial memory in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice

Academic Article


  • Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) often have fragmentation of sleep/wake cycles and disrupted 24-h (circadian) activity. Despite this, little work has investigated the potential underlying day/night disruptions in cognition and neuronal physiology in the hippocampus. The molecular clock, an intrinsic transcription-translation feedback loop that regulates circadian behavior, may also regulate hippocampal neurophysiological activity. We hypothesized that disrupted diurnal variation in clock gene expression in the hippocampus corresponds with loss of normal day/night differences in membrane excitability, synaptic physiology, and cognition. We previously reported disrupted circadian locomotor rhythms and neurophysiological output of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (the primary circadian clock) in Tg-SwDI mice with human amyloid-beta precursor protein mutations. Here, we report that Tg-SwDI mice failed to show day/night differences in a spatial working memory task, unlike wild-type controls that exhibited enhanced spatial working memory at night. Moreover, Tg-SwDI mice had lower levels of Per2, one of the core components of the molecular clock, at both mRNA and protein levels when compared to age-matched controls. Interestingly, we discovered neurophysiological impairments in area CA1 of the Tg-SwDI hippocampus. In controls, spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic currents (sIPSCs) in pyramidal cells showed greater amplitude and lower inter-event interval during the day than the night. However, the normal day/night differences in sIPSCs were absent (amplitude) or reversed (inter-event interval) in pyramidal cells from Tg-SwDI mice. In control mice, current injection into CA1 pyramidal cells produced more firing during the night than during the day, but no day/night difference in excitability was observed in Tg-SwDI mice. The normal day/night difference in excitability in controls was blocked by GABA receptor inhibition. Together, these results demonstrate that the normal diurnal regulation of inhibitory transmission in the hippocampus is diminished in a mouse model of AD, leading to decreased daytime inhibition onto hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells. Uncovering disrupted day/night differences in circadian gene regulation, hippocampal physiology, and memory in AD mouse models may provide insight into possible chronotherapeutic strategies to ameliorate Alzheimer's disease symptoms or delay pathological onset.
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    Author List

  • Fusilier AR; Davis JA; Paul JR; Yates SD; McMeekin LJ; Goode LK; Mokashi MV; Remiszewski N; van Groen T; Cowell RM
  • Volume

  • 158