EMBO J 2018 01 11;37(2):167-182. Epub 2017 Dec 11.
Department of Neurology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by severe neuronal loss as well as the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ), which ultimately leads to plaque formation. Although there is now a general agreement that the aggregation of Aβ can be initiated by prion-like seeding, the impact and functional consequences of induced Aβ deposits (Aβ seeding) on neurons still remain open questions. Here, we find that Aβ seeding, representing early stages of plaque formation, leads to a dramatic decrease in proliferation and neurogenesis in two APP transgenic mouse models. We further demonstrate that neuronal cell death occurs primarily in the vicinity of induced Aβ deposits culminating in electrophysiological abnormalities. Notably, environmental enrichment and voluntary exercise not only revives adult neurogenesis and reverses memory deficits but, most importantly, prevents Aβ seeding by activated, phagocytic microglia cells. Our work expands the current knowledge regarding Aβ seeding and the consequences thereof and attributes microglia an important role in diminishing Aβ seeding by environmental enrichment.