Neuropathology of mice carrying mutant APP(swe) and/or PS1(M146L) transgenes: alterations in the p75(NTR) cholinergic basal forebrain septohippocampal pathway.Exp Neurol 2001; 170(2):227-43EN
Cholinergic basal forebrain (CBF) projection systems are defective in late Alzheimer's disease (AD). We examined the brains of 12-month-old singly and doubly transgenic mice overexpressing mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP(swe)) and/or presenilin-1 (PS1(M146L)) to investigate the effects of these AD-related genes on plaque and tangle pathology, astrocytic expression, and the CBF projection system. Two types of beta-amyloid (Abeta)-immunoreactive (ir) plaques were observed: type 1 were darkly stained oval and elongated deposits of Abeta, and type 2 were diffuse plaques containing amyloid fibrils. APP(swe) and PS1(M146L) mouse brains contained some type 1 plaques, while the doubly transgenic (APP(swe)/PS1(M146L)) mice displayed a greater abundance of types 1 and 2 plaques. Sections immunostained for the p75 NGF receptor (p75(NTR)) revealed circular patches scattered throughout the cortex and hippocampus of the APP(swe)/PS1(M146L) mice that contained Abeta, were innervated by p75(NTR)-ir neurites, but displayed virtually no immunopositive neurons. Tau pathology was not seen in any transgenic genotype, although a massive glial response occurred in the APP(swe)/PS1(M146L) mice associated with amyloid plaques. Stereology revealed a significant increase in p75(NTR)-ir medial septal neurons in the APP(swe) and PS1(M146L) singly transgenic mice compared to the APP(swe)/PS1(M146L) mice. No differences in size or optical density of p75(NTR)-ir neurons were observed in these three mutants. p75(NTR)-ir fibers in hippocampus and cortex were more pronounced in the APP(swe) and PS1(M146L) mice, while the APP(swe)/PS1(M146L) mice showed the least p75(NTR)-ir fiber staining. These findings suggest a neurotrophic role for mutant APP and PS1 upon cholinergic hippocampal projection neurons at 12 months of age.