Effect of aging and Alzheimer's disease-like pathology on brain monoamines in mice

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Aging is the greatest single risk factor of the neurodegenerative disorder Alzheimer's disease (AD). The monoaminergic system, including serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) modulates cognition, which is affected in AD. Changes in monoamine levels have been observed in AD, but these can both be age- and/or disease-related. We examined whether brain monoamine levels change as part of physiological aging and/or AD-like disease in APPSWE/PS1ΔE9 (APP/PS1) transgenic mice. The neocortex, hippocampus, striatum, brainstem and cerebellum of 6-, 12-, 18- and 24-month-old B6C3 wild-type (WT) mice and of 18-month old APP/PS1 and WT mice were analysed for 5-HT, DA and NA contents by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), along with neocortex from 14-month-old APP/PS1 and WT mice. While, we observed no aging effect in WT mice, we detected region-specific changes in the levels of all monoamines in 18-month-old transgenic compared with WT mice. This included reductions in 5-HT (−30%), DA (−47%) and NA (−32%) levels in the neocortex and increases of 5-HT in the brainstem (+18%). No changes were observed in any of the monoamines in the neocortex from 14-month-old APP/PS1 mice. In combination, these findings indicate that aging alone is not sufficient to affect brain monoamine levels, unlike the APPSWE/PS1ΔE9 genotype.

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