Journal of Neuroscience vol:30 issue:25 pages:8566-80
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and irreversible neurodegenerative disorder. Familial AD (FAD) mutations in presenilins have been linked to calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling abnormalities. To explain these results, we previously proposed that presenilins function as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) passive Ca(2+) leak channels. To directly investigate the role of presenilins in neuronal ER Ca(2+) homeostasis, we here performed a series of Ca(2+) imaging experiments with primary neuronal cultures from conditional presenilin double-knock-out mice (PS1(dTAG/dTAG), PS2(-/-)) and from triple-transgenic AD mice (KI-PS1(M146V), Thy1-APP(KM670/671NL), Thy1-tau(P301L)). Obtained results provided additional support to the hypothesis that presenilins function as ER Ca(2+) leak channels in neurons. Interestingly, we discovered that presenilins play a major role in ER Ca(2+) leak function in hippocampal but not in striatal neurons. We further discovered that, in hippocampal neurons, loss of presenilin-mediated ER Ca(2+) leak function was compensated by an increase in expression and function of ryanodine receptors (RyanRs). Long-term feeding of the RyanR inhibitor dantrolene to amyloid precursor protein-presenilin-1 mice (Thy1-APP(KM670/671NL), Thy1-PS1(L166P)) resulted in an increased amyloid load, loss of synaptic markers, and neuronal atrophy in hippocampal and cortical regions. These results indicate that disruption of ER Ca(2+) leak function of presenilins may play an important role in AD pathogenesis.