BACKGROUND: Dysregulated signaling in neurons and astrocytes participates in pathophysiological alterations seen in the Alzheimer's disease brain, including increases in amyloid-β, hyperphosphorylated tau, inflammation, calcium dysregulation, and oxidative stress. These are often noted prior to the development of behavioral, cognitive, and non-cognitive deficits. However, the extent to which these pathological changes function together or independently is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the temporal relationship between calcium dysregulation and oxidative stress, as some reports suggest that dysregulated calcium promotes increased formation of reactive oxygen species, while others support the opposite. Prior work has quantified several key outcome measures associated with oxidative stress in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 knockout (Aldh2-/-) mice, a non-transgenic model of sporadic Alzheimer's disease.

METHODS: Here, we tested the hypothesis that early oxidative stress can promote calcium dysregulation across aging by measuring calcium-dependent processes using electrophysiological and imaging methods and focusing on the afterhyperpolarization (AHP), synaptic activation, somatic calcium, and long-term potentiation in the Aldh2-/- mouse.

RESULTS: Our results show a significant age-related decrease in the AHP along with an increase in the slow AHP amplitude in Aldh2-/- animals. Measures of synaptic excitability were unaltered, although significant reductions in long-term potentiation maintenance were noted in the Aldh2-/- animals compared to wild-type.

CONCLUSION: With so few changes in calcium and calcium-dependent processes in an animal model that shows significant increases in HNE adducts, Aβ, p-tau, and activated caspases across age, the current findings do not support a direct link between neuronal calcium dysregulation and uncontrolled oxidative stress.

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Published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, v. 77, no. 4.

© 2020 IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

This article is published online with Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0).

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Funding Information

This work was supported by NIH grants R01AG058171 (OT and BMB) and T32 AG05461 (AOG), Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant PJT 153013 (BMB), Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada grant G-19-0024266 (RDA), and National Science and Engineering Research Council grant RGPN/04624-2017 (RDA).