Non-Fibrillar Oligomeric Amyloid-β within Synapses

Eleanor K. Pickett, Robert M. Koffie, Susanne Wegmann, Christopher M. Henstridge, Abigail G. Herrmann, Marti Colom-Cadena, Alberto Lleo, Kevin R. Kay, Melissa Vaught, Roy Soberman, Dominic M. Walsh, Bradley T. Hyman, Tara L. Spires-Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2016 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by memory loss, insidious cognitive decline, profound neurodegeneration, and the extracellular accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in senile plaques and intracellular accumulation of tau in neurofibrillary tangles. Loss and dysfunction of synapses are believed to underlie the devastating cognitive decline in AD. A large amount of evidence suggests that oligomeric forms of Aβ associated with senile plaques are toxic to synapses, but the precise sub-synaptic localization of Aβ and which forms are synaptotoxic remain unknown. Here, we characterize the sub-synaptic localization of Aβ oligomers using three high-resolution imaging techniques, stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy, immunogold electron microscopy, and Förster resonance energy transfer in a plaque-bearing mouse model of AD. With all three techniques, we observe oligomeric Aβ inside synaptic terminals. Further, we tested a panel of Aβ antibodies using the relatively high-throughput array tomography technique to determine which forms are present in synapses. Our results show that different oligomeric Aβ species are present in synapses and highlight the potential of array tomography for rapid testing of aggregation state specific Aβ antibodies in brain tissue.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)787-800
    JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Alzheimer's disease
    • amyloid-β
    • array tomography
    • synapses


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