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Papers of the Week

2019 07

Neurobiol Dis


Soluble tau aggregates inhibit synaptic long-term depression and amyloid β-facilitated LTD in vivo.


Ondrejcak T, Hu N-W, Qi Y, Klyubin I, Corbett GT, Fraser G, Perkinton MS, Walsh DM, Billinton A, Rowan MJ
Neurobiol Dis. 2019 07; 127:582-590.
PMID: 30910746.


Soluble synaptotoxic aggregates of the main pathological proteins of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid β-protein (Aß) and tau, have rapid and potent inhibitory effects on long-term potentiation (LTP). Although the promotion of synaptic weakening mechanisms, including long-term depression (LTD), is posited to mediate LTP inhibition by Aß, little is known regarding the action of exogenous tau on LTD. The present study examined the ability of different assemblies of full-length human tau to affect LTD in the dorsal hippocampus of the anaesthetized rat. Unlike Aß, intracerebroventricular injection of soluble aggregates of tau (SτAs), but not monomers or fibrils, potently increased the threshold for LTD induction in a manner that required cellular prion protein. However, MTEP, an antagonist of the putative prion protein coreceptor metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, did not prevent the disruption of synaptic plasticity by SτAs. In contrast, systemic treatment with Ro 25-6981, a selective antagonist at GluN2B subunit-containing NMDA receptors, reduced SτA-mediated inhibition of LTD, but not LTP. Intriguingly, SτAs completely blocked Aß-facilitated LTD, whereas a subthreshold dose of SτAs facilitated Aß-mediated inhibition of LTP. Overall, these findings support the importance of cellular prion protein in mediating a range of, sometimes opposing, actions of soluble Aß and tau aggregates with different effector mechanisms on synaptic plasticity.