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Choline acetyltransferase activity at different ages in brain of Ts65Dn mice, an animal model for Down's syndrome and related neurodegenerative diseases.

By Contestabile A., Fila T., Bartesaghi R., Contestabile A. and Ciani E.


Ts65Dn mice, trisomic for a portion of chromosome 16 segmentally homologous to human chromosome 21, are an animal model for Down's syndrome and related neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia of Alzheimer type. In these mice, cognitive deficits and alterations in number of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons have been described. We have measured in Ts65Dn mice the catalytic activity of the cholinergic marker, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), as well as the activity of the acetylcholine degrading enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), in the hippocampus and in cortical targets of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. In mice aged 10 months, ChAT activity was significantly higher in Ts65Dn mice, compared to 2N animals, in the hippocampus, olfactory bulb, olfactory cortex, pre-frontal cortex, but not in other neocortical regions. At 19 months of age, on the other hand, no differences in ChAT activity were found. Thus, alterations of ChAT activity in these forebrain areas seem to recapitulate those recently described in patients scored as cases of mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's disease. Other neurochemical markers putatively associated with the disease progression, such as those implicating astrocytic hyperactivity and overproduction of amyloid precursor protein family, were preferentially found altered in some brain regions at the oldest age examined (19 months)

Year: 2006
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