AD presents with severe neurodegeneration which leads to cognitive deficits and dementia. Identifying the molecular signals that attenuate neurodegeneration in AD may be exploited as therapeutic targets. This study revealed that transgenic AD mice (PSAPP) exhibit decreased caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a membrane/lipid raft (MLR) scaffolding protein that organizes synaptic signaling components. Subcellularly, Cav-1 and full length (fl)-TrkB were significantly decreased in MLRs. We thus developed an in vivo gene therapy that re-expresses neuronal-targeted Cav-1 using the synapsin promoter (SynCav1). While AD mice showed significant learning and memory deficits at 9 and 11 months, AD mice that received hippocampal SynCav1 (AD-SynCav1) maintained normal learning and memory at 9 and 11 months respectively. Furthermore, AD-SynCav1 mice showed preserved hippocampal MLR-localized fl-TrkB, synaptic ultrastructure, dendritic arborization and axonal myelin content, all of which occurred independent of reducing amyloid deposit and astrogliosis. Thus, SynCav1 demonstrates translational potential to treat AD by delaying neurodegeneration.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience