The Combined Effects of Amyloidosis and Serotonin Deficiency by Tryptophan Hydroxylase-2 Knockout Impacts Viability of the APP/PS1 Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Christian Ulrich von Linstow, Jonas Waider, Marianne Skov-Skov Bergh, Marco Anzalone, Cecilie Madsen, Aina Battle Nicolau, Martin Wirenfeldt, Klaus-Peter Lesch, Bente Finsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND: A decline of brain serotonin (5-HT) is held responsible for the changes in mood that can be observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, 5-HT'ergic signaling is also suggested to reduce the production of pathogenic amyloid-4β (Aβ).

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of targeted inactivation of tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (Tph2), which is essential for neuronal 5-HT synthesis, on amyloidosis in amyloid precursor protein (APP)swe/presenilin 1 (PS1) ΔE9 transgenic mice.

METHODS: Triple-transgenic (3xTg) APP/PS1 mice with partial (+/-) or complete Tph2 knockout (-/-) were allowed to survive until 6 months old with APP/PS1, Tph2-/-, and wildtype mice. Survival and weight were recorded. Levels of Aβ 42/40/38, soluble APPα (sAβPPα) and sAβPPβ, and cytokines were analyzed by mesoscale, neurotransmitters by mass spectrometry, and gene expression by quantitative PCR. Tph2, microglia, and Aβ were visualized histologically.

RESULTS: Tph2 inactivation in APP/PS1 mice significantly reduced viability, without impacting soluble and insoluble Aβ 42 and Aβ 40 in neocortex and hippocampus, and with only mild changes of soluble Aβ 42/Aβ 40. However, sAβPPα and sAβPPβ in hippocampus and Aβ 38 and Aβ 40 in cerebrospinal fluid were reduced. 3xTg-/-mice were devoid of Tph2 immunopositive fibers and 5-HT. Cytokines were unaffected by genotype, as were neocortical TNF, HTR2a and HTR2b mRNA levels in Tph2-/- mice. Microglia clustered around Aβ plaques regardless of genotype.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that Tph2 inactivation influences AβPP processing, at least in the hippocampus, although levels of Aβ are unchanged. The reduced viability of 3xTg-/-mice could indicate that 5-HT protects against the seizures that can impact the viability of APP/PS1 mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1300
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • 5-HT
  • A beta PP processing
  • APP/PS1
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • MICE
  • cerebral amyloidosis
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • neuroinflammation
  • tryptophan hydroxylase 2

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