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Patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) are at elevated risk for seizures, including patients with presenilin 2 (PSEN2) variants. Like people with epilepsy, uncontrolled seizures may worsen cognitive function in AD. While the relationship between seizures and amyloid beta accumulation has been more thoroughly investigated, the role of other drivers of seizure susceptibility in EOAD remain relatively understudied. We therefore sought to define the impact of loss of normal PSEN2 function and chronic seizures on cognitive function in the aged brain. Male and female PSEN2 KO and age- and sex-matched wild-type (WT) mice were sham or corneal kindled beginning at 6-months-old. Kindled and sham-kindled mice were then challenged up to 6 weeks later in a battery of cognitive tests: non-habituated open field (OF), T-maze spontaneous alternation (TM), and Barnes maze (BM), followed by immunohistochemistry for markers of neuroinflammation and neuroplasticity. PSEN2 KO mice required significantly more stimulations to kindle (males: p < 0.02; females: p < 0.02) versus WT. Across a range of behavioral tests, the cognitive performance of kindled female PSEN2 KO mice was most significantly impaired versus age-matched WT females. Male BM performance was generally worsened by seizures (p = 0.038), but loss of PSEN2 function did not itself worsen cognitive performance. Conversely, kindled PSEN2 KO females made the most BM errors (p = 0.007). Chronic seizures also significantly altered expression of hippocampal neuroinflammation and neuroplasticity markers in a sex-specific manner. Chronic seizures may thus significantly worsen hippocampus-dependent cognitive deficits in aged female, but not male, PSEN2 KO mice. Our work suggests that untreated focal seizures may worsen cognitive burden with loss of normal PSEN2 function in a sex-related manner. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Kevin M Knox, Megan Beckman, Carole L Smith, Suman Jayadev, Melissa Barker-Haliski. Chronic seizures induce sex-specific cognitive deficits with loss of presenilin 2 function. Experimental neurology. 2023 Mar;361:114321

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PMID: 36634751

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