Various environmental factors are known to influence the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Environmental enrichment was reported to improve cognitive performance in various Alzheimer's transgenic mice via an amyloid-related or unrelated mechanism. However, stress has been found to accelerate amyloid deposition and cognitive deficits in many AD models. The aim of this study was to determine whether environmental enrichment compensates for the effects of stress on disease progression in the Tg2576 mice, an established AD model. We housed Tg2576 mice under environmental enrichment, enrichment plus stress, stress, or control conditions at 3 months of age. In this study, we first report that environmental enrichment counteracts the effects of stress in terms of cognitive deficits, tau phosphorylation, neurogenesis, and neuronal proliferation during AD-like disease progression. These results strongly implicate the importance of environmental factors as a major modulator for the disease progression of AD.
J. Neurochem. (2011) 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07514.x