Background: The persistence of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) is sharply decreased in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The neuropathologies of AD include the presence of amyloid-β deposition in plaques, tau hyperphosphorylation in neurofibrillary tangles, and cholinergic system degeneration. The focused ultrasound (FUS)-mediated blood-brain barrier opening modulates tau hyperphosphorylation, the accumulation of amyloid-β proteins, and increases in AHN. However, it remains unclear whether FUS can modulate AHN in cholinergic-deficient conditions. In this study, we investigated the effect of FUS on AHN in a cholinergic degeneration rat model of dementia. Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 48; 200-250 g) were divided into control (phosphate-buffered saline injection), 192 IgG-saporin (SAP), and SAP+FUS groups; in the two latter groups, SAP was injected bilaterally into the lateral ventricle. We applied FUS to the bilateral hippocampus with microbubbles. Immunohistochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoblotting, 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine labeling, an acetylcholinesterase assay, and the Morris water maze test were performed to assess choline acetyltransferase, acetylcholinesterase activity, brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression, neural proliferation, and spatial memory, respectively. Statistical significance of differences in between groups was calculated using one-way and two-way analyses of variance followed by Tukey's multiple comparison test to determine the individual and interactive effects of FUS on immunochemistry and behavioral analysis. P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Cholinergic degeneration in rats significantly decreased the number of choline acetyltransferase neurons (P < 0.05) in the basal forebrain, as well as AHN and spatial memory function. Rats that underwent FUS-mediated brain-blood barrier opening exhibited significant increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF; P < 0.05), early growth response protein 1 (EGR1) (P < 0.01), AHN (P < 0.01), and acetylcholinesterase activity in the frontal cortex (P < 0.05) and hippocampus (P < 0.01) and crossing over (P < 0.01) the platform in the Morris water maze relative to the SAP group after sonication. Conclusions: FUS treatment increased AHN and improved spatial memory. This improvement was mediated by increased hippocampal BDNF and EGR1. FUS treatment may also restore AHN and protect against neurodegeneration, providing a potentially powerful therapeutic strategy for AD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cognitive Neuroscience