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Apoptosis in Transgenic Mice Expressing the P301L Mutated Form of Human Tau

By Rita M Ramalho, Ricardo J S Viana, Rui E Castro, Clifford J Steer, Walter C Low and Cecília M P Rodrigues

Abstract

The rTg4510 mouse is a tauopathy model, characterized by massive neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-relevant cortical and limbic structures, deficits in spatial reference memory, and progression of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). In this study, we examined the role of apoptosis in neuronal loss and associated tau pathology. The results showed that DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation are common in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of young rTg4510 mice. These changes were associated with cleavage of tau into smaller intermediate fragments, which persist with age. Interestingly, active caspase-3 was often co-localized with cleaved tau. In vitro, fibrillar Aβ 1–42 resulted in nuclear fragmentation, caspase activation, and caspase-3-induced cleavage of tau. Notably, incubation with the antiapoptotic molecule tauroursodeoxycholic acid abrogated apoptosis-mediated cleavage of tau in rat cortical neurons. In conclusion, caspase-3-cleaved intermediate tau species occurred early in rTg54510 brains and preceded cell loss in Aβ-exposed cultured neurons. These results suggest a potential role of apoptosis in neurodegeneration

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.192.5608
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