Consecutive Analysis of BACE1 Function on Developing and Developed Neuronal Cells

Yuji Kamikubo, Nobumasa Takasugi, Kazue Niisato, Yoshie Hashimoto, Takashi Sakurai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) is cleaved by a transmembrane protease termed β-site AβPP cleavage enzyme (BACE1), which is being explored as a target for therapy and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although genetic deletion of BACE1 results in abolished amyloid pathology in AD model mice, it also results in neurodevelopmental phenotypes such as hypomyelination and synaptic loss, observed in schizophrenia and autism-like phenotype. These lines of evidence indicate that the inhibition of BACE1 causes adverse side effects during the neurodevelopmental stage. However, the effects of the inhibition of BACE1 activity on already developed neurons remain unclear. Here, we utilized hippocampal slice cultures as an ex vivo model that enabled continuous and long-term analysis for the effect of BACE1 inhibition on neuronal circuits and synapses. Temporal changes in synaptic proteins in hippocampal slices indicated acute synaptic loss, followed by synapse formation and maintenance phases. Long-term BACE1 inhibition in the neurodevelopmental stage caused the loss of synaptic proteins but failed to alter synaptic proteins in the already developed maintenance stage. These data indicate that BACE1 function on synapses is dependent on synaptic developmental stages, and our study provides a useful model to observe the long-term effect of BACE1 activity in the brain, and to evaluate adverse effects of BACE inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid β
  • hippocampus
  • slice culture
  • synapse
  • β-secretase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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