Allopregnanolone restores hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and neural progenitor survival in aging 3xTgAD and nonTg mice

Chanpreet Singh, Lifei Liu, Jun Ming Wang, Ronald W. Irwin, Jia Yao, Shuhua Chen, Sherry Henry, Richard F. Thompson, Roberta Diaz Brinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated that allopregnanolone (APα) increased proliferation of neural progenitor cells and reversed neurogenic and cognitive deficits prior to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology (Wang, J.M., Johnston, P.B., Ball, B.G., Brinton, R.D., 2005. The neurosteroid allopregnanolone promotes proliferation of rodent and human neural progenitor cells and regulates cell-cycle gene and protein expression. J. Neurosci. 25, 4706-4718; Wang, J.M., Singh, C., Liu, L., Irwin, R.W., Chen, S., Chung, E.J., Thompson, R.F., Brinton, R.D., 2010. Allopregnanolone reverses neurogenic and cognitive deficits in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 107, 6498-6503). Herein, we determined efficacy of APα to restore neural progenitor cell survival and associative learning and memory subsequent to AD pathology in male 3xTgAD mice and their nontransgenic (nonTg) counterparts. APα significantly increased survival of bromodeoxyuridine positive (BrdU+) cells and hippocampal-dependent associative learning and memory in 3xTgAD mice in the presence of intraneuronal amyloid beta (Aβ) whereas APα was ineffective subsequent to development of extraneuronal Aβ plaques. Restoration of hippocampal-dependent associative learning was maximal by the first day and sustained throughout behavioral training. Learning and memory function in APα-treated 3xTgAD mice was 100% greater than vehicle-treated and comparable to maximal normal nonTg performance. In aged 15-month-old nonTg mice, APα significantly increased survival of bromodeoxyuridine-positive cells and hippocampal-dependent associative learning and memory. Results provide preclinical evidence that APα promoted survival of newly generated cells and restored cognitive performance in the preplaque phase of AD pathology and in late-stage normal aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1506
Number of pages14
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult neurogenesis
  • Allopregnanolone
  • Alzheimer's disease therapeutics
  • Mild cognitive impairment therapeutics
  • Trace eyeblink conditioning
  • Translational neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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