The γ-secretase modulator CHF5074 restores memory and hippocampal synaptic plasticity in plaque-free Tg2576 mice

Claudia Balducci, Bisan Mehdawy, Lydia Mare, Alessandro Giuliani, Luca Lorenzini, Sandra Sivilia, Luciana Giardino, Laura Calzà, Annamaria Lanzillotta, Ilenia Sarnico, Marina Pizzi, Alessandro Usiello, Arturo R. Viscomi, Simone Ottonello, Gino Villetti, Bruno P. Imbimbo, Giuseppe Nisticò, Gianluigi Forloni, Robert Nisticò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abnormal amyloid-β (Aβ) production and deposition is believed to represent one of the main causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD). γ-Secretase is the enzymatic complex responsible for Aβ generation from its precursor protein. Inhibition or modulation of γ-secretase represents an attractive therapeutic approach. CHF5074 is a new γ-secretase modulator that has been shown to inhibit brain plaque deposition and to attenuate memory deficit in adult AD transgenic mice after chronic treatment. To date, it is not known whether the positive behavioral effects of this compound also occur in young transgenic mice without plaque deposition. Here, we evaluated the effects of acute and subchronic treatment with CHF5074 on contextual and recognition memory and on hippocampal synaptic plasticity in plaque-free Tg2576 mice. We found that at 5 months of age, contextual memory impairment was significantly attenuated after acute subcutaneous administration of 30 mg/kg CHF5074. At 6 months of age, recognition memory impairment was fully reversed after a 4-week oral treatment in the diet (≈60 mg/kg/day). These cognitive effects were associated with a reversal of long-term potentiation (LTP) impairment in the hippocampus. A significant reduction in brain intraneuronal AβPP/Aβ levels and hyperphosphorylated tau, but no change in soluble or oligomeric Aβ levels was detected in Tg2576 mice showing functional recovery following CHF5074 treatment. We conclude that the beneficial effects of CHF5074 treatment in young transgenic mice occurred at a stage that precedes plaque formation and were associated with a reduction in intraneuronal AβPP/Aβ and hyperphosphorylated tau.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-816
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • γ-secretase modulators
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid-β
  • fear conditioning
  • long-term potentiation
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • recognition memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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