Hirano body expression impairs spatial working memory in a novel mouse model
Clark, Jason K
Crystal, Jonathon D
Wagner, John J
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Abstract Introduction Hirano bodies are actin-rich intracellular inclusions found in the brains of patients with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration-tau. While Hirano body ultrastructure and protein composition have been well studied, little is known about the physiological function of Hirano bodies in an animal model system. Results Utilizing a Cre/Lox system, we have generated a new mouse model which develops an age-dependent increase in the number of model Hirano bodies present in both the CA1 region of the hippocampus and frontal cortex. These mice develop normally and experience no overt neuron loss. Mice presenting model Hirano bodies have no abnormal anxiety or locomotor activity as measured by the open field test. However, mice with model Hirano bodies develop age-dependent impairments in spatial working memory performance assessed using a delayed win-shift task in an 8-arm radial maze. Synaptic transmission, short-term plasticity, and long-term plasticity was measured in the CA1 region from slices obtained from both the ventral and dorsal hippocampus in the same mice whose spatial working memory was assessed. Baseline synaptic responses, paired pulse stimulation and long-term potentiation measurements in the ventral hippocampus were indistinguishable from control mice. In contrast, in the dorsal hippocampus, synaptic transmission at higher stimulus intensities were suppressed in 3 month old mice with Hirano bodies as compared with control mice. In addition, long-term potentiation was enhanced in the dorsal hippocampus of 8 month old mice with Hirano bodies, concurrent with observed impairment of spatial working memory. Finally, an inflammatory response was observed at 8 months of age in mice with Hirano bodies as assessed by the presence of reactive astrocytes. Conclusion This study shows that the presence of model Hirano bodies initiates an inflammatory response, alters hippocampal synaptic responses, and impairs spatial working memory in an age-dependent manner. This suggests that Hirano bodies may promote disease progression. This new model mouse provides a tool to investigate how Hirano bodies interact with other pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Hirano bodies likely play a complex and region specific role in the brain during neurodegenerative disease progression.