Neuroanatomical alterations and synaptic plasticity impairment in the perirhinal cortex of the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome.

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Neurobiology of disease, ISSN: 1095-953X, Vol: 106, Page: 89-100

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Roncacé, Vincenzo; Burattini, Costanza; Stagni, Fiorenza; Guidi, Sandra; Giacomini, Andrea; Emili, Marco; Aicardi, Giorgio; Bartesaghi, Renata
Elsevier BV
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Down syndrome (DS), a genetic condition due to triplication of Chromosome 21, is characterized by numerous neurodevelopmental alterations and intellectual disability. Individuals with DS and DS mouse models are impaired in several memory domains, including hippocampus-dependent declarative (spatial, in rodents) memory and visual recognition memory, a form of memory in which the perirhinal cortex (PRC) plays a fundamental role. The anatomo-functional substrates of hippocampus-dependent memory impairment have been largely elucidated in the Ts65Dn mouse model of DS. In contrast, there is a lack of corresponding information regarding visual recognition memory. Therefore, we deemed it of interest to examine at both an anatomical and functional level the PRC of Ts65Dn mice. We found that the PRC of adult (1.5-3.5month-old) Ts65Dn mice exhibited diffused hypocellularity and neurons with a reduced spine density. No difference between Ts65Dn and euploid mice was detected in the abundance of glutamatergic and GABAergic terminals. We examined brain slices for long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity involved in long-term memory. Theta burst stimulation of intracortical fibers was used in order to elicit LTP in the superficial layers of the PRC. We found that in trisomic slices LTP had a similar time-course but a reduced magnitude in comparison with euploid slices. While exposure to the GABA receptor antagonist picrotoxin had no effect on LTP magnitude, exposure to the GABA receptor antagonist CGP55845 caused an increase in LTP magnitude that became even larger than in euploid slices. Western blot analysis showed increased levels of the G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K channel 2 (GIRK2) in the PRC of Ts65Dn mice, consistent with triplication of the gene coding for GIRK2. This suggests that the reduced magnitude of LTP may be caused by GIRK2-dependent exaggerated GABA receptor-mediated inhibition. Results provide novel evidence for anatomo-functional alterations in the PRC of Ts65Dn mice. These alterations may underlie trisomy-due impairment in visual recognition memory.