Premature Aging Phenotype in Mice Lacking High-Affinity Nicotinic Receptors: Region-Specific Changes in Layer V Pyramidal Cell Morphology.

Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)

PubMedID: 24554727

Konsolaki E, Skaliora I. Premature Aging Phenotype in Mice Lacking High-Affinity Nicotinic Receptors: Region-Specific Changes in Layer V Pyramidal Cell Morphology. Cereb Cortex. 2014;.
The mechanisms by which aging leads to alterations in brain structure and cognitive deficits are unclear. ? deficient cholinergic system has been implicated as one of the main factors that could confer a heightened vulnerability to the aging process, and mice lacking high-affinity nicotinic receptors (ß2(-/-)) have been proposed as an animal model of accelerated cognitive aging. To date, however, age-related changes in neuronal microanatomy have not been studied in these mice. In the present study, we examine the neuronal structure of yellow fluorescent protein (YFP(+)) layer V neurons in 2 cytoarchitectonically distinct cortical regions in wild-type (WT) and ß2(-/-) animals. We find that (1) substantial morphological differences exist between YFP(+) cells of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and primary visual cortex (V1), in both genotypes; (2) in WT animals, ACC cells are more susceptible to aging compared with cells in V1; and (3) ß2 deletion is associated with a regionally and temporally specific increase in vulnerability to aging. ACC cells exhibit a prematurely aged phenotype already at 4-6 months, whereas V1 cells are spared in adulthood but strongly affected in old animals. Collectively, our data reveal region-specific synergistic effects of aging and genotype and suggest distinct vulnerabilities in V1 and ACC neurons.