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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Mitochondrial Superoxide Contributes to Hippocampal Synaptic Dysfunction and Memory Deficits in Angelman Syndrome Model Mice.


PMID 26658871

Abstract

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with developmental delay, lack of speech, motor dysfunction, and epilepsy. In the majority of the patients, AS is caused by the deletion of small portions of maternal chromosome 15 harboring the UBE3A gene. This results in a lack of expression of the UBE3A gene because the paternal allele is genetically imprinted. The UBE3A gene encodes an enzyme termed ubiquitin ligase E3A (E6-AP) that targets proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome. Because neurodegenerative disease and other neurodevelopmental disorders have been linked to oxidative stress, we asked whether mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) played a role in impaired synaptic plasticity and memory deficits exhibited by AS model mice. We discovered that AS mice have increased levels of superoxide in area CA1 of the hippocampus that is reduced by MitoQ 10-methanesuflonate (MitoQ), a mitochondria-specific antioxidant. In addition, we found that MitoQ rescued impairments in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and deficits in contextual fear memory exhibited by AS model mice. Our findings suggest that mitochondria-derived oxidative stress contributes to hippocampal pathophysiology in AS model mice and that targeting mitochondrial ROS pharmacologically could benefit individuals with AS. Oxidative stress has been hypothesized to contribute to the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and Angelman syndrome (AS). Herein, we report that AS model mice exhibit elevated levels of mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species in pyramidal neurons in hippocampal area CA1. Moreover, we demonstrate that the administration of MitoQ (MitoQ 10-methanesuflonate), a mitochondria-specific antioxidant, to AS model mice normalizes synaptic plasticity and restores memory. Finally, our findings suggest that antioxidants that target the mitochondria could be used therapeutically to ameliorate synaptic and cognitive deficits in individuals with AS.