Recent studies show that in Alzheimer's disease (AD), alterations in neurogenesis contribute to the neurodegenerative process. Neurodegeneration in AD has been associated with aberrant signaling through the cyclin-dependent kinase-5 (CDK5) pathway via its activators p35/p25; however, the role of CDK5 in the mechanisms of defective adult neurogenesis in AD is unknown. First, to study AD-like abnormal activation of CDK5 signaling in an in vitro model of neurogenesis, neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs) were infected with a viral vector expressing p35, and exposed to amyloid-β protein (Aβ1−42). These conditions resulted in impaired maturation and neurite outgrowth in vitro, and these effects were reversed by pharmacological or genetic inhibition of CDK5. Similarly, neurogenesis was impaired in a transgenic mouse model of AD that expresses high levels of amyloid precursor protein (APP), and this effect was reversed in transgenic mice crossed with a CDK5 heterozygous-deficient mouse line. A similar rescue effect was observed in APP transgenic mice treated with Roscovitine, a pharmacological inhibitor of CDK5. Taken together, these data suggest that the CDK5 signaling pathway has a critical role in maintaining the integrity of NPCs and neuronal maturation in the adult hippocampus. Moreover, potential therapeutic approaches could focus on modulating the aberrant activity of CDK5 to target the neurogenic and neurodegenerative alterations in AD
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