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Ultrastructural analysis of hippocampal pyramidal neurons from apolipoprotein E-deficient mice treated with a cathepsin inhibitor.


Cultured hippocampal slices prepared from apolipoprotein E (apoE)-deficient mice were exposed to an inhibitor of cathepsins B and L and then processed for an ultrastructural analysis of neuronal features for pyramidal cell bodies. Electron microscopy showed that the nuclei of pyramidal cells from treated hippocampal slices were more eccentrically located than those from untreated slices. In addition, increased numbers of vesicles were associated with the Golgi complex while microtubules were less frequent in the proximal dendrites. Consistent with previous studies in rats, treated apoE-deficient slices had increased numbers of lysosomes and multivesicular bodies. Finally, there were reductions in the number of synapses around the cell body, a finding similar to that found in the brains from Alzheimer's disease patients. These results provide ultrastructural data indicating that partial lysosomal dysfunction in apoE-deficient brains rapidly induces characteristic features of the aged human brain.

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