Partial loss in septo-hippocampal cholinergic neurons alters memory-dependent measures of brain connectivity without overt memory deficits

Laurent Brayda-Bruno, Nicole Mons, Kay Yan Benjamin Yee, Jacques Micheau, Djoher Nora Abrous, Xavier Nogues, Aline Marighetto

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The functional relevance of septo-hippocampal cholinergic (SHC) degeneration to the degradation of hippocampus-dependent declarative memory (DM) in aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains ill-defined. Specifically, selective SHC lesions often fail to induce overt memory impairments in animal models. In spite of apparent normal performance, however, neuronal activity within relevant brain structures might be altered by SHC disruption. We hypothesized that partial SHC degeneration may contribute to functional alterations within memory circuits occurring in aging before DM decline. In young adult mice, we studied the effects of behaviorally ineffective (saporin-induced) SHC lesions - similar in extent to that seen in aged animals - on activity patterns and functional connectivity between three main neural memory systems: the septo-hippocampal system, the striatum and the amygdala that sustain declarative, procedural and emotional memory, respectively. Animals were trained in a radial maze procedure dissociating the human equivalents of relational/DM and non-R/DM expressions in animals. Test-induced Fos activation pattern revealed that the partial SHC lesion significantly altered the brain's functional activities and connectivity (co-activation pattern) despite the absence of overt behavioral deficit. Specifically, hippocampal CA3 hyperactivity and abnormal septo-hippocampo-amygdalar inter-connectivity resemble those observed in aging and prodromal AD. Hence, SHC neurons critically coordinate hippocampal function in concert with extra-hippocampal structures in accordance with specific mnemonic demand. Although partial SHC degeneration is not sufficient to impact DM performance by itself, the connectivity change might predispose the emergence of subsequent DM loss when, due to additional age-related insults, the brain can no longer compensate the holistic imbalance caused by cholinergic loss.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-381
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Declarative memory
  • Fos immunohistochemistry
  • Functional connectivity
  • Mouse
  • P75 saporin immunotoxin
  • Radial arm maze
  • Spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology

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