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action potentials, interneurons, membrane potential, neurons, mice, mouse models, Alzheimer's disease, animal behavior

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the abnormal proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein, resulting in increased production of a self-aggregating form of beta amyloid (Aβ). Several lines of work on AD patients and transgenic mice with high Aβ levels exhibit altered rhythmicity, aberrant neuronal network activity and hyperexcitability reflected in clusters of hyperactive neurons, and spontaneous epileptic activity. Recent studies highlight that abnormal accumulation of Aβ changes intrinsic properties of inhibitory neurons, which is one of the main reasons underlying the impaired network activity. However, specific cellular mechanisms leading to interneuronal dysfunction are not completely understood. Using extended Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) formalism in conjunction with patch-clamp experiments, we investigate the mechanisms leading to the impaired activity of interneurons. Our detailed analysis indicates that increased Na+ leak explains several observations in inhibitory neurons, including their failure to reliably produce action potentials, smaller action potential amplitude, increased resting membrane potential, and higher membrane depolarization in response to a range of stimuli in a model of APPSWE/PSEN1DeltaE9 (APdE9) AD mice as compared to age-matched control mice. While increasing the conductance of hyperpolarization activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) ion channel could account for most of the observations, the extent of increase required to reproduce these observations render such changes unrealistic. Furthermore, increasing the conductance of HCN does not account for the observed changes in depolarizability of interneurons from APdE9 mice as compared to those from NTG mice. None of the other pathways tested could lead to all observations about interneuronal dysfunction. Thus we conclude that upregulated sodium leak is the most likely source of impaired interneuronal function.

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PLoS ONE, v. 11, issue 12, p. 1-24