Hippocampal neurophysiology is modified by a disease-associated C-terminal fragment of Tau protein
Neurobiology of Aging
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The accumulation of cleaved tau fragments in the brain is associated with several tauopathies. For this reason, we recently developed a transgenic mouse that selectively accumulates a C-Terminal 35 kDa human tau fragment, Tau35. These animals develop progressive motor and spatial memory impairment, paralleled by increased hippocampal glycogen synthase kinase 3β activity. In this neurophysiological study we focused on the CA1 subfield of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory encoding. The accumulation of Tau35 results in a significant increase of short-term facilitation of the synaptic response in the theta frequency range (10 Hz), without affecting basal synaptic transmission and long term-synaptic plasticity. Tau35 expression also alters the intrinsic excitability of CA1 pyramidal neurons. Thus, Tau35 presence is associated with increased and decreased excitability at hyperpolarized and depolarized potentials, respectively. These observations are paralleled by a hyperpolarization of the voltage-sensitivity of non-inactivating K+ currents. Further investigation is needed to assess the causal link between such functional alterations and the cognitive and motor impairments previously observed in this model.
Medical Research Council (MRC), the Alzheimer’s Research UK King’s College London Network Centre, Wellcome Trust and Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) supported this work.
This is the author's accepted manuscript
The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record
Available online 20 July 2017