Depressive-like behavior is paired to monoaminergic alteration in a murine model of Alzheimer's disease

Adele Romano, Lorenzo Pace, Bianca Tempesta, Angelo Michele Lavecchia, Teresa Macheda, Gaurav Bedse, Antonio Petrella, Carlo Cifani, Gaetano Serviddio, Gianluigi Vendemiale, Silvana Gaetani, Tommaso Cassano

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61 Scopus citations


Background: Neuropsychiatric signs are critical in primary caregiving of Alzheimer patients and have not yet been fully investigated in murine models. Methods: 18-month-old 3.Tg-AD Male mice and their wild-type Male littermates (non-Tg) were used. The open field test and the elevated plus maze test were used to evaluate anxiety-like behaviors, whereas the Porsolt forced swim test, the tail suspension test, and the sucrose preference test for antidepressant/depression-coping behaviors. Neurochemical study was conducted by microdialysis in freely-moving mice, analyzing the basal and K+-stimulated monoamine output in the frontal cortex and ventral hippocampus. Moreover by immunohistochemistry, we analysed the expression of Tyrosin hydroxylase and Tryptophan hydroxylase, which play a key role in the synthesis of monoamines. Results: Aged 3.Tg-AD mice exhibited a higher duration of immobility in the forced swim and tail suspension tests (predictors of depression-like behavior) which was not attenuated by a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, desipramine. In the sucrose preference test, 3.Tg-AD mice showed a significantly lower sucrose preference compared to the non-Tg group, without any difference in total fluid intake. In contrast, the motor functions and anxiety-related emotional responses of 3.Tg-AD mice were normal, as detected by the open-field and elevated plus-maze tests. To strengthen these results, we then evaluated the monoaminergic neurotransmissions by in vivo microdialysis and immunohistochemistry. In particular, with the exception of the basal hippocampal dopamine levels, 3.Tg-AD mice exhibited a lower basal extracellular output of amines in the frontal cortex and ventral hippocampus and also a decreased extracellular response to K+ stimulation. Such alterations occur with obvious local amyloid-β and tau pathologies and without gross alterations in the expression of Tyrosin and Tryptophan hydroxylase. Conclusions: These results suggest that 3.Tg-AD mice exhibit changes in depression-related behavior involving aminergic neurotrasmitters and provide an animal model for investigating AD with depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frontal cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Monoaminergic neurotransmission
  • Triple transgenic model of AD


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