Driving GABAergic neurons optogenetically improves learning, reduces amyloid load and enhances autophagy in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • The changes of local field potentials (LFP, mainly gamma rhythm and theta rhythm) in the brain are closely related to learning and memory formation. Reduced gamma rhythm (20-50Hz) and theta rhythm (4-10Hz) has been observed in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but it is not clear whether it is related to cognition in AD. Here, we investigated behaviorally driven gamma rhythm and theta rhythm in APP/PS1 mice, and optogenetically stimulated GABAergic neurons in the brain to better understand the relationship between the changes of LFP, cognition, and cellular pathologies. Optogenetically driving GABAergic neurons rescued memory formation in a water maze task and normalized theta and gamma rhythm in the EEG. Furthermore, the optogenetic stimulation alleviated neuroinflammation and levels of amyloid- (A)1-42 fragments, and induced autophagy. GABA blockers also reversed the normalization of theta and gamma rhythms in the brain by optogenetic stimulation. The results demonstrate that stimulation of GABAergic interneurons not only rescues LFP rhythms and memory formation, but furthermore activates autophagy and reduces neuroinflammation, which have beneficial additional effects such as clearing amyloid. This is a proof of concept for a novel therapeutic approach to AD treatment.

published proceedings

  • Biochem Biophys Res Commun

altmetric score

  • 9.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Z., Jing, Y., Ma, Y., Duan, D., Li, B. o., Hlscher, C., ... Xing, Y.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Zijuan||Jing, Ying||Ma, Yajing||Duan, Dongxiao||Li, Bo||Hölscher, Christian||Li, Cheng||Wei, Jingwen||Gao, Aishe||Shang, Lizhi||Tao, Feng||Xing, Ying

publication date

  • January 2020