Early impairment of cortical circuit plasticity and connectivity in the 5XFAD Alzheimer’s disease mouse model

Chang Chen, Xiaokuang Ma, Jing Wei, Neha Shakir, Jessica K. Zhang, Le Zhang, Antoine Nehme, Yuehua Cui, Deveroux Ferguson, Feng Bai, Shenfeng Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Genetic risk factors for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), are expressed throughout the life span. How these risk factors affect early brain development and function remain largely unclear. Analysis of animal models with high constructive validity for AD, such as the 5xFAD mouse model, may provide insights on potential early neurodevelopmental effects that impinge on adult brain function and age-dependent degeneration. The 5XFAD mouse model over-expresses human amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin 1 (PS1) harboring five familial AD mutations. It is unclear how the expression of these mutant proteins affects early developing brain circuits. We found that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) layer 5 (L5) neurons in 5XFAD mice exhibit transgenic APP overloading at an early post-weaning age. Impaired synaptic plasticity (long-term potentiation, LTP) was seen at 6–8 weeks age in L5 PFC circuit, which was correlated with increased intracellular APP. APP overloading was also seen in L5 pyramidal neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) during the critical period of plasticity (4–5 weeks age). Whole-cell patch clamp recording in V1 brain slices revealed reduced intrinsic excitability of L5 neurons in 5XFAD mice, along with decreased spontaneous miniature excitatory and inhibitory inputs. Functional circuit mapping using laser scanning photostimulation (LSPS) combined with glutamate uncaging uncovered reduced excitatory synaptic connectivity onto L5 neurons in V1, and a more pronounced reduction in inhibitory connectivity, indicative of altered excitation and inhibition during VC critical period. Lastly, in vivo single-unit recording in V1 confirmed that monocular visual deprivation-induced ocular dominance plasticity during critical period was impaired in 5XFAD mice. Our study reveals plasticity deficits across multiple cortical regions and indicates altered early cortical circuit developmental trajectory as a result of mutant APP/PS1 over-expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number371
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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