Synapse alterations caused by alpha-synuclein oligomers
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia affecting an estimated 5.3 million Americans based on the 2015 Report of the Alzheimer Association. Our current understanding of the pathogenesis of AD suggests that soluble, nonfibrillar forms of amyloid proteins [e.g. amyloid-β, tau, and α-synuclein (αSyn)] may be responsible for impairing cognition and have therefore been advanced to be the most bioactive species in this brain disorder. We sought to determine the potential contribution of αSyn oligomers to AD-associated cognitive decline. We found that selective αSyn oligomers are elevated in AD brains and that genetically elevating oligomeric αSyn in an AD mouse model led to a selective decrease in presynaptic proteins and cognitive performance.