Pharmacological Rescue of Long-Term Potentiation in Alzheimer Diseased Synapses.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.2774-16.2016
Long-term potentiation (LTP) is an activity-dependent and persistent increase in synaptic transmission. Currently available techniques to measure LTP are time-intensive and require highly specialized expertise and equipment, and thus are not well suited for screening of multiple candidate treatments, even in animal models. To expand and facilitate the analysis of LTP, here we use a flow cytometry-based method to track chemically induced LTP by detecting surface AMPA receptors in isolated synaptosomes: fluorescence analysis of single-synapse long-term potentiation (FASS-LTP). First, we demonstrate that FASS-LTP is simple, sensitive, and models electrically induced LTP recorded in intact circuitries. Second, we conducted FASS-LTP analysis in two well-characterized Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse models (3xTg and Tg2576) and, importantly, in cryopreserved human AD brain samples. By profiling hundreds of synaptosomes, our data provide the first direct evidence to support the idea that synapses from AD brain are intrinsically defective in LTP. Third, we used FASS-LTP for drug evaluation in human synaptosomes. Testing a panel of modulators of cAMP and cGMP signaling pathways, FASS-LTP identified vardenafil and Bay-73-6691 (phosphodiesterase-5 and -9 inhibitors, respectively) as potent enhancers of LTP in synaptosomes from AD cases. These results indicate that our approach could provide the basis for protocols to study LTP in both healthy and diseased human brains, a previously unattainable goal.