Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by memory loss, insidious cognitive decline, profound neurodegeneration and the extracellular accumulation of amyloid-beta (Ab) peptide in senile plaques and intracellular accumulation of tau in neurofibrillary tangles. Loss and dysfunction of synapses are believed to underlie the devastating cognitive decline in AD. A large amount of evidence suggests that oligomeric forms of Ab associated with senile plaques are toxic to synapses, but the precise sub-synaptic localization of Ab and which forms are synaptotoxic remain unknown. Here, we characterize the sub-synaptic localization of Ab oligomers using three high-resolution imaging techniques, stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy, immunogold electron microscopy and Förster resonance energy transfer in a plaque-bearing mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. With all three techniques, we observe oligomeric Ab inside synaptic terminals. Further, we tested a panel of Ab antibodies using the relatively high-throughput array tomography technique to determine which forms are present in synapses. Our results show that different oligomeric Ab species are present in synapses and highlight the potential of array tomography for rapid testing of aggregation state specific Ab antibodies in brain tissue.
Pickett, Eleanor K.; Koffie, Robert M.; Wegmann, Susanne; Henstridge, Christopher M.; Herrmann, Abigail G.; Colom-Cadena, Marti; Lleo, Alberto; Kay, Kevin R.; Vaught, Melissa; Soberman, Roy; Walsh, Dominic M.; Hyman, Bradley T.; Spires-Jones, Tara L. (2016). Non-fibrillar oligomeric amyloid-β within synapses: Data set from publication Pickett et al 2016 J Alz Dis, [dataset]. University of Edinburgh. School of Biomedical Sciences. http://dx.doi.org/10.7488/ds/1415.