2008 Volume 106 Issue 1 Pages 84-91
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of beta-amyloid (Aβ) oligomers, not the fibrils that make up Aβ plaques, on spatial memory and the cholinergic system in rats. Recently, several researchers have suggested that small assemblies of Aβ, Aβ oligomers, caused memory loss during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease without showing cell death. In the present study, the combination of Aβ oligomers and cerebral ischemia, but not cerebral ischemia alone, significantly impaired spatial memory without apoptosis in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, ameliorated this memory impairment. Therefore we examined acetylcholine (ACh) release from the dorsal hippocampus. A microdialysis study showed that spontaneous release of ACh was not significantly decreased by the combination of Aβ oligomers and cerebral ischemia; however, high K+-evoked ACh release was decreased. These results suggest that a combination of Aβ oligomers and cerebral ischemia induces memory impairment by cholinergic synapse dysfunction without apoptosis. This model may be useful for developing new drugs for the treatment of early-phase Alzheimer’s disease.