Prenatal to early postnatal neurotrophic treatment prevents Alzheimer-like behavior and pathology in mice

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Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of middle-aged to old individuals. The pathophysiological process of AD is believed to begin many years before the emergence of clinical symptoms. The important influence of congenital genetic aberrations on the development of AD provides a novel opportunity to initiate prenatal to early postnatal pharmacological treatment to address the role of this critical period of brain development in the disease. Methods: We investigated for the first time the effect of oral treatment during prenatal to early postnatal development with a neurotrophic compound, P021 (Ac-DGGLAG-NH2), on neurobehavior and AD-like pathology in 3xTg-AD, a transgenic mouse model of AD. The transgenic and control wild-type female mice were treated from prenatal day 8 to postnatal day 21 with a custom-made diet containing P021 or a vehicle diet, followed by a standard diet. AD-type cognitive function and pathological features were studied during adulthood and old age. Results: The P021 treatment rescued cognitive deficits at 4 months, reduced abnormal hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of tau at known major AD neurofibrillary pathology-associated sites, and decreased Aβ plaque load at 22 months in 3xTg-AD mice. Prenatal to early postnatal treatment with P021 also ameliorated certain markers of postsynaptic deficits, including PSD-95 levels and CREB activity, and decreased one measure of neuroinflammation, GFAP level in the brain at 4 and 22 months in 3xTg mice. Conclusions: These findings suggest that neurotrophic impairment during early development can be one of the etiopathogenic factors of AD and that the neurotrophic peptide mimetic is a potential early prevention strategy for this disease.




Wei, W., Wang, Y., Liu, Y., Dai, C. L., Tung, Y. C., Liu, F., & Iqbal, K. (2020). Prenatal to early postnatal neurotrophic treatment prevents Alzheimer-like behavior and pathology in mice. Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, 12(1).

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