Bis(propyl)-cognitin (B3C), derived from tacrine linked with three methylene (–CH2–) groups, is a dimerized molecule interacting multiple targets. During the past several years, it has been reported as a promising therapeutic drug for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. However, the therapeutic mechanism of B3C for AD needs further demonstration. Based on a combination of behavioral tests, electrophysiological technique, immunocytochemistry, and live cell imaging, we studied the effects and the underlying mechanism of B3C on the impairments of cognitive function, synapse formation, and synaptic plasticity induced by soluble amyloid-β protein (Aβ) oligomers. Our study showed that spatial learning and memory in a Morris water maze task and recognition memory in a novel object recognition task were significantly decreased in the AD model mice created by hippocampal injection of Aβ. Chronic administration of B3C for 21 days prevented the memory impairments of the AD model mice in a dose-dependent manner. Live cell imaging study showed that 2-h pretreatment of B3C prevented the decrease in the number of filopodia and synapses induced by Aβ (0.5 μM) in a dose-dependent manner. Besides, electrophysiological recording data showed that the inhibition of long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by Aβ1–42 oligomers in the dentate gyrus (DG) of hippocampus was prevented by B3C in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, we found that the neuroprotective effect of B3C against Aβ-oligomer-induced impairments of synaptic formation and plasticity could be partially blocked by a specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitor LY294002 (50 μM). Therefore, these results indicate that B3C can prevent Aβ-oligomer-induced cognitive deficits, synaptic formation impairments, and synaptic plasticity impairments in a concentration-dependent manner. These effects of B3C are partially mediated via the PI3-K pathway. This study provides novel insights into the cellular mechanisms for the protective effects of B3C on AD.
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This work was supported by 973 Program from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2013CB835100), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81471398, 30900430), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation (LY14H090004), Ningbo Natural Science Foundation (No. 2014A610258), Program for Zhejiang Leading Team of S & T Innovation, P. R. China (No. 2011R50013-04), Ningbo Talent Project, Disciplinary Project of Ningbo University (NO. xkl141058), and K.C. Wong Magna Fund in Ningbo University.
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