October 29, 2020

Partial Inhibition of Mitochondrial Complex I Reduces Tau Pathology and Improves Energy Homeostasis and Synaptic Function in 3xTg-AD Male and Female Mice

Background: Accumulation of hyperphosphorylated Tau (pTau) protein is associated with synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimers disease (AD). We previously demonstrated that neuroprotection in familial mouse models of AD could be achieved by targeting mitochondria complex I (MCI) and activating the adaptive stress response. Efficacy of this strategy on pTau-related pathology remained unknown. Objective: To investigate the effect of specific MCI inhibitor tricyclic pyrone compound CP2 on pTau levels, memory function, long term potentiation (LTP), and energy homeostasis in 18-month-old 3xTg-AD mice and explore the potential mechanisms. Methods: CP2 was administered to male and female 3xTg-AD mice from 3.5 – 18 months of age. Cognitive function was assessed using the Morris water maze test. Glucose metabolism was measured in periphery using a glucose tolerance test and in the brain using fluorodeoxyglucose F18 positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET). LTP was evaluated using electrophysiology in the hippocampus. The expression of key proteins associated with neuroprotective mechanisms were assessed by western blotting. Results: Chronic CP2 treatment restored synaptic activity and cognitive function, increased levels of synaptic proteins, improved glucose metabolism and energy homeostasis in male and female 3xTg-AD mice. Significant reduction of human pTau in the brain was associated with increased activity of protein phosphatase of type 2A (PP2A), reduced activity of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) and glycogen synthase kinase 3{beta} (GSK3{beta}). Conclusion: CP2 treatment protected against synaptic dysfunction and memory impairment in symptomatic 3xTg-AD mice, and reduced levels of human pTau, indicating that targeting mitochondria with small molecule specific MCI inhibitors represents a promising strategy for AD.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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