, Volume 236, Issue 9, pp 2761–2771 | Cite as

Protective effect of potassium 2-(l-hydroxypentyl)-benzoate on hippocampal neurons, synapses and dystrophic axons in APP/PS1 mice

  • Longjian Huang
  • Yong Zhang
  • Yuchen Peng
  • Zirun Zhao
  • Yujun Zhou
  • Xiaoliang WangEmail author
  • Ying PengEmail author
Original Investigation



As the hub of memory and space, hippocampus is very sensitive to a wide variety of injuries and is one of the earliest brain structures to develop neurodegenerative changes in AD. Previous research has showed a protective effect of potassium 2-(l-hydroxypentyl)-benzoate (PHPB) on cognitive deficits in animal models of AD. However, it is unclear whether this protective effect is associated with hippocampal alterations.


The present study was conducted to evaluate the protective effect of PHPB on hippocampal neurodegenerative changes in middle-aged APP/PS1 mice.


Ten-month-old male APP/PS1 transgenic mice and age-matched wild-type mice were randomly divided into three groups. PHPB-treated APP/PS1 group received 30 mg/kg PHPB by oral gavage once daily for 12 weeks. Wild-type group and APP/PS1 group received the same volume of water alone. Twelve weeks later, mice (13-month-old) were tested for in vivo 1H-MRS examination and then sacrificed for subsequent biochemical and pathological examinations using transmission electron microscopy, Golgi staining, immunohistochemistry, and western blotting.


We found that PHPB treatment significantly improved the micromorphology of hippocampal neurons and subcellular organelles, ameliorated synapse loss and presynaptic axonal dystrophy, increased hippocampal dendritic spine density and dendritic complexity, enhanced the expression of hippocampal synapse-associated proteins, and improved hippocampal metabolism in middle-aged APP/PS1 mice.


Our study showed for the first time the protective effect of PHPB on hippocampal neurons, synapses, and dystrophic axons in APP/PS1 mice, which to some extent revealed the possible mechanism for its ability to improve cognition in animal models of AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Potassium 2-(l-hydroxypentyl)-benzoate Hippocampal Synapse Dystrophic axon APP/PS1 mice 


Funding information

This project was supported by the grants from National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (No.81473200 and 81673420), CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (No.2017-I2M-2-004), and the National Science and Technology Major Special Project on Major New Drug Innovation of China (2018ZX09711001-003-005, 2018ZX09711001-003-009).

Compliance with ethical standards

All experiments were approved and performed in accordance with the institutional guidelines of the Experimental Animal Center of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Beijing, China (No.00005668).

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Functions of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia MedicaChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina
  2. 2.Trinity College of Arts and SciencesDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Pharmacology Department, Institute of Materia MedicaChinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina

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