Impaired adult neurogenesis is an early event in Alzheimer’s disease neurodegeneration, mediated by intracellular Aβ oligomers

Chiara Scopa, Francesco Marrocco, Valentina Latina, Federica Ruggeri, Valerio Corvaglia, Federico La Regina, Martine Ammassari-Teule, Silvia Middei, Giuseppina Amadoro, Giovanni Meli, Raffaella Scardigli, Antonino Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alterations of adult neurogenesis have been reported in several Alzheimer's disease (AD) animal models and human brains, while defects in this process at presymptomatic/early stages of AD have not been explored yet. To address this, we investigated potential neurogenesis defects in Tg2576 transgenic mice at 1.5 months of age, a prodromal asymptomatic age in terms of Aβ accumulation and neurodegeneration. We observe that Tg2576 resident and SVZ-derived adult neural stem cells (aNSCs) proliferate significantly less. Further, they fail to terminally differentiate into mature neurons due to pathological, tau-mediated, and microtubule hyperstabilization. Olfactory bulb neurogenesis is also strongly reduced, confirming the neurogenic defect in vivo. We find that this phenotype depends on the formation and accumulation of intracellular A-beta oligomers (AβOs) in aNSCs. Indeed, impaired neurogenesis of Tg2576 progenitors is remarkably rescued both in vitro and in vivo by the expression of a conformation-specific anti-AβOs intrabody (scFvA13-KDEL), which selectively interferes with the intracellular generation of AβOs in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Altogether, our results demonstrate that SVZ neurogenesis is impaired already at a presymptomatic stage of AD and is caused by endogenously generated intracellular AβOs in the ER of aNSCs. From a translational point of view, impaired SVZ neurogenesis may represent a novel biomarker for AD early diagnosis, in association to other biomarkers. Further, this study validates intracellular Aβ oligomers as a promising therapeutic target and prospects anti-AβOs scFvA13-KDEL intrabody as an effective tool for AD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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