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Cerebellin 4, a synaptic protein, enhances inhibitory activity and resistance of neurons to amyloid-ß toxicity

AuthorsChacón, Pedro J. ; Marco, Ángel del; Arévalo, María Ángeles ; Domínguez Giménez, Paloma; García-Segura, Luis M. ; Rodríguez-Tebar, Alfredo
Alzheimer's disease
Cerebellin 4
Amyloid β
Issue DateFeb-2015
CitationNeurobiology of Aging 36(2): 1057-1071 (2015)
AbstractImbalances between excitatory and inhibitory transmissions in the brain anticipate the neuronal damage and death that occur in the neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease (AD). We previously showed that amyloid-β (Aß), a natural peptide involved in the onset and development of AD, counteracts the neurotrophic activity of the nerve growth factor (NGF) by dampening the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic connectivity of cultured hippocampal neurons. Neuronal plasticity is partly controlled by the NGF-promoted expression of the homologue of enhancer-of-split 1 (Hes1), a transcription factor that regulates the formation of GABAergic synapses. We now show that Hes1 controls the expression of cerebellin 4 (Cbln4), a member of a small family of secreted synaptic proteins, and we present the evidence that Cbln4 plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of inhibitory GABAergic connections. Cbln4 immunoreactivity was found in the hippocampus, mostly in the dendrites and somata of pyramidal neurons. In the CA1, the hippocampal region where the first neurons degenerate in AD, Cbln4 immunoreactivity was associated with GABAergic synapses (detected by vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter [VGAT] immunostaining), which appear to surround and embrace the somata of CA1 pyramidal neurons (basket cells). Moreover, significant decreases of Hes1, Cbln4, and VGAT immunoreactivities and messenger RNA expression were found in the hippocampus of a mouse model of AD. We also found that either the overexpression of Cbln4 in cultured hippocampal neurons or the application of recombinant Cbln4 to the cultures increased the number of GABAergic varicosities, rescuing neurons from Aß-induced death. In contrast, knockdown of Cbln4 gene in cultured neurons was followed by a large reduction of GABAergic connections. Such an effect was reverted by exogenously added Cbln4. These findings suggest a therapeutic potential for Cbln4 in the treatment of AD.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.11.006
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