BACKGROUND:Discrepant and often contradictory results have accumulated regarding the antidepressant and pro-cognitive effects of serotonin transporter (SERT) antagonists in Alzheimer's disease. METHODS:To address the discrepancy, we measured the activity and density of SERT in the neocortex of 3-24-month-old APPswe/PS1dE9 and wild-type littermate mice, by using [3H]DASB autoradiography and the [3H]5-HT uptake assay. Levels of soluble amyloid-β (Aβ), and pro-inflammatory cytokines that can regulate SERT function, such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), were measured in parallel. Neuroinflammation in aging APPswe/PS1dE9 mice was further evaluated by [3H]PK11195 autoradiography. RESULTS:Decreased SERT density was observed in the parietal and frontal cortex of 18-24-month-old APPswe/PS1dE9 mice, compared to age-matched, wild-type animals. The maximal velocity uptake rate (Vmax) of [3H]5-HT was reduced in neocortical preparations from 20-month-old transgenic vs. wild-type mice. The reduction was observed when the proportion of soluble Aβ40 in the Aβ40/42 ratio increased in the aged transgenic brain. At concentrations compatible with those measured in 20-month-old APPswe/PS1dE9 mice, synthetic human Aβ40, but not Aβ42, reduced the baseline Vmax of [3H]5-HT by ~ 20%. Neuroinflammation in APPswe/PS1dE9 vs. wild-type mice was evidenced by elevated [3H]PK11195 binding levels and increased concentration of IL-1β protein, which preceded the reductions in neocortical SERT density and activity. Age-induced increases in the levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF were observed in both transgenic and wild-type animals. CONCLUSIONS:The progression of cerebral amyloidosis is associated with neuroinflammation and decreased presynaptic markers of serotonergic integrity and activity. The Aβ40-induced reduction in the uptake kinetics of [3H]5-HT suggests that the activity of SERT, and potentially the effects of SERT antagonism, depend on the levels of interstitial Aβ40.
Metaxas, A., Anzalone, M., Vaitheeswaran, R., Petersen, S., Landau, A. M., & Finsen, B. (2019). Neuroinflammation and amyloid-beta 40 are associated with reduced serotonin transporter (SERT) activity in a transgenic model of familial Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, 11(1), . https://doi.org/10.1186/s13195-019-0491-2