AD-Related N-Terminal Truncated Tau Is Sufficient to Recapitulate In Vivo the Early Perturbations of Human Neuropathology: Implications for Immunotherapy

A. Borreca, V. Latina, V. Corsetti, S. Middei, S. Piccinin, F. della Valle, R. Bussani, M. Ammassari-Teule, R. Nisticò, P. Calissano, G. Amadoro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The NH2tau 26–44 aa (i.e., NH2htau) is the minimal biologically active moiety of longer 20–22-kDa NH2-truncated form of human tau—a neurotoxic fragment mapping between 26 and 230 amino acids of full-length protein (htau40)—which is detectable in presynaptic terminals and peripheral CSF from patients suffering from AD and other non-AD neurodegenerative diseases. Nevertheless, whether its exogenous administration in healthy nontransgenic mice is able to elicit a neuropathological phenotype resembling human tauopathies has not been yet investigated. We explored the in vivo effects evoked by subchronic intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) infusion of NH2htau or its reverse counterpart into two lines of young (2-month-old) wild-type mice (C57BL/6 and B6SJL). Six days after its accumulation into hippocampal parenchyma, significant impairment in memory/learning performance was detected in NH2htau-treated group in association with reduced synaptic connectivity and neuroinflammatory response. Compromised short-term plasticity in paired-pulse facilitation paradigm (PPF) was detected in the CA3/CA1 synapses from NH2htau-impaired animals along with downregulation in calcineurin (CaN)-stimulated pCREB/c-Fos pathway(s). Importantly, these behavioral, synaptotoxic, and neuropathological effects were independent from the genetic background, occurred prior to frank neuronal loss, and were specific because no alterations were detected in the control group infused with its reverse counterpart. Finally, a 2.0-kDa peptide which biochemically and immunologically resembles the injected NH2htau was endogenously detected in vivo, being present in hippocampal synaptosomal preparations from AD subjects. Given that the identification of the neurotoxic tau species is mandatory to develop a more effective tau-based immunological approach, our evidence can have important translational implications for cure of human tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 5 2018



  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Immunotherapy
  • Tau cleavage
  • Tau protein
  • Tauopathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Borreca, A., Latina, V., Corsetti, V., Middei, S., Piccinin, S., della Valle, F., Bussani, R., Ammassari-Teule, M., Nisticò, R., Calissano, P., & Amadoro, G. (Accepted/In press). AD-Related N-Terminal Truncated Tau Is Sufficient to Recapitulate In Vivo the Early Perturbations of Human Neuropathology: Implications for Immunotherapy. Molecular Neurobiology, 1-30.