Effect of epigallocatechin-3-gallate on a pattern separation task and hippocampal neurogenesis in a mouse model of down syndrome

Megan Elizabeth Stringer, Purdue University


Down syndrome (DS) is caused by three copies of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and results in an array of phenotypes including intellectual disability. Ts65Dn mice, the most extensively studied DS model, have three copies of ~50% of the genes on Hsa21 and display many phenotypes associated with DS, including cognitive deficits. DYRK1A is found in three copies in humans with Trisomy 21 and in Ts65Dn mice, and is involved in a number of critical pathways including CNS development and osteoclastogenesis. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main polyphenol in green tea, inhibits Dyrk1a activity. We have shown that a three-week EGCG treatment (~10mg/kg/day) during adolescence normalizes skeletal abnormalities in Ts65Dn mice, yet the same dose did not rescue deficits in the Morris water maze spatial learning task (MWM) or novel object recognition (NOR). Others have reported that An EGCG dose of 2-3 mg per day (90mg/ml) improved hippocampal-dependent task deficits in Ts65Dn mice. The current study investigated deficits in a radial arm maze pattern separation task in Ts65Dn mice. Pattern separation requires differentiation between similar memories acquired during learning episodes; distinguishing between these similar memories is thought to depend on distinctive encoding in the hippocampus. Pattern separation has been linked to functional activity of newly generated granule cells in the dentate gyrus. Recent studies in Ts65Dn mice have reported significant reductions in adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and after EGCG treatment, enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis. Thus, it was hypothesized that Ts65Dn mice would be impaired in the pattern separation task, and that EGCG would alleviate the pattern separation deficits seen in trisomic mice, in association with increased adult hippocampal neurogenesis. At weaning, Ts65Dn mice and euploid littermates were randomly assigned to the water control, or EGCG [0.4 mg/mL], with both treatments yielding average daily intakes of ~50 mg/kg/day. Beginning on postnatal day 75, all mice were trained on a radial arm maze-delayed non-matching-to-place pattern separation task. Euploid mice performed significantly better over training than Ts65Dn mice, including better performance at each of the three separations. EGCG did not significantly alleviate the pattern separation deficits in Ts65Dn mice. After the behavioral testing commenced, animals were given ad libitum food access for five days, received a 100mg/kg injection of BrdU, and were perfused two hours later. Coronal sections through the dorsal hippocampus were processed for BrdU labeling, and cells were manually counted throughout the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. The euploid controls had significantly more BrdU labeled cells than Ts65Dn mice, however, EGCG does not appear to increase proliferation of the hippocampal neuroprogenitor cells. This is the first report of deficits in Ts65Dn mice on a pattern separation task. To the extent that pattern separation depends on the functional involvement of newly generated neurons in an adult dentate gyrus, this approach in Ts65Dn mice may help identify more targeted pharmacotherapies for cognitive deficits in individuals with DS




Goodlett, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology

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