, Volume 235, Issue 5, pp 1513–1525 | Cite as

The effect of chronic stimulation of serotonin receptor type 7 on recognition, passive avoidance memory, hippocampal long-term potentiation, and neuronal apoptosis in the amyloid β protein treated rat

  • Siamak Shahidi
  • Sara Soleimani Asl
  • Alireza Komaki
  • Nasrin Hashemi-Firouzi
Original Investigation



Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by memory impairment, neuronal death, and synaptic loss in the hippocampus. Long-term potentiation (LTP), a type of synaptic plasticity, occurs during learning and memory. Serotonin receptor type 7 (5-HTR7) activation is suggested as a possible therapeutic target for AD.


The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of chronic treatment with the 5-HTR7 agonist, AS19, on cognitive function, memory, hippocampal plasticity, amyloid beta (Aβ) plaque accumulation, and apoptosis in an adult rat model of AD.


AD was induced in rats using Aβ (single 1 μg/μL intracerebroventricular (icv) injection during surgery). The following experimental groups were included: control, sham-operated, Aβ + saline (1 μL icv for 30 days), and Aβ + AS19 (1 μg/μL icv for 30 days) groups. The animals were tested for cognition and memory performance using the novel object recognition and passive avoidance tests, respectively. Next, anesthetized rats were placed in a stereotaxic apparatus for electrode implantation, and field potentials were recorded in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Lastly, brains were removed and Aβ plaques and neuronal apoptosis were evaluated using Congo red staining and TUNEL assay, respectively.


Administration of AS19 in the Aβ rats increased the discrimination index of the novel object recognition test. Furthermore, AS19 treatment decreased time spent in the dark compartment during the passive avoidance test. AS19 also enhanced both the population spike (PS) amplitude and the field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) slope evoked potentials of the LTP components. Aβ plaques and neuronal apoptosis were decreased in the AS19-treated Aβ rats.


These results indicate that chronic treatment with a 5-HTR7 agonist can prevent Aβ-related impairments in cognition and memory performance by alleviating Aβ plaque accumulation and neuronal apoptosis, hence improving neuronal plasticity. AS19 may be useful as a therapeutic agent for AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Serotonin-7 receptor Memory Long-term potentiation Hippocampus Rat 



This work was supported by a grant (Grant number: 9312186737) from the Neurophysiology Research Centre, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Animal care, treatment, and surgical procedures were approved by the ethics committees of the Hamadan University of Medical Sciences (Ref. No.: 6383), and performed according to the Guide for Care and Use of laboratory animals published by the National Institute of Health, USA (NIH Publication No. 85-23, revised 1985).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siamak Shahidi
    • 1
  • Sara Soleimani Asl
    • 2
  • Alireza Komaki
    • 1
  • Nasrin Hashemi-Firouzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurophysiology Research CenterHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran
  2. 2.Anatomy Department, School of MedicineHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran

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