Diffuse beta-amyloid plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau are unrelated processes in aged dogs with behavioral deficits
The aged dog is considered a promising model for examining molecular and cellular processes involved in a variety of human neurological disorders. By using the canine counterpart of senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (ccSDAT), we investigated the specific vulnerability of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) cortical subset of interneurons, characterized by their calcium-binding protein content, to neuronal death. Dogs representing a large variety of breeds were classified into three groups: young control, aged control, and ccSDAT. In all dogs, the general distribution and cell typology of parvalbumin-, calretinin-, and calbindin-positive neurons were found to be similar to those in the human. As in Alzheimer's disease patients, neurons displaying parvalbumin or calretinin immunoreactivity were resistant and the calbindin-positive ones depleted. Together with aging, amyloid deposition in its early phase (stage II) participates in this specific neuronal death, but with a lower potency. In conclusion, our data provide evidence that preservation of GABAergic cortical interneurons has to be focused on the early stage of beta-amyloid deposition. We also demonstrate the usefulness of dogs of all breeds for investigating the early phases of human brain aging and Alzheimer's disease.