Nabeshima, T. and Nitta, A. Memory Impairment and Neuronal Dysfunction Induced by β-Amyloid Protein in Rats. Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 1994, 174 (3), 241-249 Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the presence of senile plaques. The core of the plaque consists of β-amyloid protein. In AD patients, learning and memory are impaired with a concomitant loss of the cholinergic marker enzyme, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). However, direct evidence that βamyloid protein is related to the impairment of learning and memory has not been demonstrated. In this study, we investigated whether memory impairment and neuronal dysfunction were produced after 2 weeks continuous infusion of β-amyloid protein (3, 30 and 300 pmol/day) into the cerebral ventricles in adult rats. To investigate the ability of learning and memory in β-amyloid protein-treated rats, water maze and passive avoidance tasks were carried out. The performance of both tasks in β-amyloid protein-treated rats was impaired. ChAT activity in the frontal cortex (3 and 30 pmol/day) and hippocampus (300 pmol/day) significantly decreased. These results suggest that β-amyloid protein is related to the impairment of learning and memory, and neurodegeneration, and that β-amyloid protein-treated rats could be used as an animal model for AD. β-amyloid protein; Alzheimer's disease; memory; choline acetyltransferase; rats.
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