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Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 736–746 | Cite as

Sex Differences in Neuropathology and Cognitive Behavior in APP/PS1/tau Triple-Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Jun-Ting Yang
  • Zhao-Jun Wang
  • Hong-Yan Cai
  • Li Yuan
  • Meng-Ming Hu
  • Mei-Na Wu
  • Jin-Shun Qi
Original Article

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among the elderly, characterized by amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuroinflammation in the brain, as well as impaired cognitive behaviors. A sex difference in the prevalence of AD has been noted, while sex differences in the cerebral pathology and relevant molecular mechanisms are not well clarified. In the present study, we systematically investigated the sex differences in pathological characteristics and cognitive behavior in 12-month-old male and female APP/PS1/tau triple-transgenic AD mice (3×Tg-AD mice) and examined the molecular mechanisms. We found that female 3×Tg-AD mice displayed more prominent amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, neuroinflammation, and spatial cognitive deficits than male 3×Tg-AD mice. Furthermore, the expression levels of hippocampal protein kinase A–cAMP response element-binding protein (PKA-CREB) and p38–mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) also showed sex difference in the AD mice, with a significant increase in the levels of p-PKA/p-CREB and a decrease in the p-p38 in female, but not male, 3×Tg-AD mice. We suggest that an estrogen deficiency-induced PKA-CREB-MAPK signaling disorder in 12-month-old female 3×Tg-AD mice might be involved in the serious pathological and cognitive damage in these mice. Therefore, sex differences should be taken into account in investigating AD biomarkers and related target molecules, and estrogen supplementation or PKA-CREB-MAPK stabilization could be beneficial in relieving the pathological damage in AD and improving the cognitive behavior of reproductively-senescent females.

Keywords

Sex difference 3×Tg-AD mouse Amyloid plaque Neurofibrillary tangle Neuroinflammation Spatial memory 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the participants for their generous dedication to the experiment. This work was partially funded by “Sanjin Scholars” of Shanxi Province and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471080, 31600865, and 31700918). It was sponsored by the Fund for Shanxi Key Subjects Construction, Shanxi “1331 Project” Key Subjects Construction, and Key Laboratory of Cellular Physiology (Shanxi Medical University) in Shanxi Province.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors claim that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyShanxi Medical UniversityTaiyuanChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyShanxi Medical UniversityTaiyuanChina
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyChangzhi Medical CollegeChangzhiChina

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