Peripheral administration of poly I:C leads to increased hippocampal amyloid-beta and cognitive deficits in a non-transgenic mouse

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive disorder characterized by neuronal and behavioral deterioration. Two hallmark pathologies of AD are amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, and the presence of such pathology can limit cell-to-cell communication, leading to cognitive deficits, and neuronal cell death. Although Aβ plaques were originally thought to cause the cognitive deficits, more simple forms of Aβ, such as monomers, dimers, tetramers and oligomers, have also been shown to be neurotoxic. Moreover, chronic inflammation has also been implicated in the onset and progression of these AD-related pathologies. The current study was designed to further our understanding of peripheral inflammation-induced AD-like pathology, by administering polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a viral mimetic. Mice were administered intraperitoneal injections of poly I:C or saline once daily for 7 consecutive days. Hippocampal tissue from animals receiving poly I:C contained significantly higher levels of the Aβ1–42 peptide. Even after ensuring that potential sickness behavior could not confound cognitive testing, we found that animals administered poly I:C displayed significant cognitive deficits in the hippocampus-dependent contextual fear conditioning paradigm. These results confirm our hypothesis that peripheral inflammation can lead to increased levels of hippocampal-Aβ and associated cognitive deficits.

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