Cholinergic systems and long-term potentiation in memory-impaired apolipoprotein E-deficient mice

P. Krzywkowski, O. Ghribi, J. Gagné, C. Chabot, S. Kar, J. Rochford, G. Massicotte, J. Poirier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Impairments in cholinergic neurotransmitter systems of the basal forebrain are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. The presence of the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E was recently implicated as a major risk factor in both familial and sporadic Alzheimer's disease. The present study examined the integrity of cholinergic and non-cholinergic systems in apolipoprotein E-deficient, memory-impaired mice. Choline acetyltransferase activity, hippocampal acetylcholine release, nicotinic and muscarinic (M1 and M2) receptor binding sites and acetylcholinesterase cell or terminal density showed no signs of alteration in either three-month or 9.5-month-old apolipoprotein E-deficient mice compared to controls. In contrast, long-term potentiation was found to be markedly reduced in these mice, but increases in the strength of stimulation induced the same level of long-term potentiation as that observed in controls. These alterations did riot appear to be the consequence of modifications in the binding properties of glutamatergic receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate and [RS]-α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole propionic acid) but from defective regulation of the (RS)-α-amino-3- hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole propionic acid receptor by phospholipase A2 activity. These results support the notion that apolipoprotein E plays a fundamental role in neuronal plasticity, which could in turn affect cognitive performance through imbalances in extra- and intracellular lipid homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1286
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Cholinergic
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Glutamatergic
  • LTP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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