BACKGROUND: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is responsible for 60-70% of all cases of dementia. On the other hand, the tap water consumed by hundreds of millions of people has been fluoridated to prevent tooth decay. However, little is known about the influence of fluoride on the expression of APP and subsequent changes in learning and memory and neuropathological injury. Our aim here was to determine whether exposure to fluoride aggravates the neuropathological lesions in mice carrying the amyloid precursor protein (APP)/presenilin1 (PS1) double mutation.
METHODS: These transgenic or wide-type (WT) mice received 0.3?ml of a solution of fluoride (0.1 or 1?mg/ml, prepared with NaF) by intragastric administration once each day for 12?weeks. The learning and memory of these animals were assessed with the Morris water maze test. Senile plaques, ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba-1), and complement component 3 (C3) expression were semi-quantified by immunohistochemical staining; the level of A?42 was detected by A?42 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs); the levels of synaptic proteins and enzymes that cleave APP determined by Western blotting; and the malondialdehyde (MDA) content and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) measured by biochemical procedures.
RESULTS: The untreated APP mice exhibited a decline in learning and memory after 12?weeks of fluoride treatment, whereas treatment of these some animals with low or high levels of fluoride led to such declines after only 4 or 8?weeks, respectively. Exposure of APP mice to fluoride elevated the number of senile plaques and level of A?42, Iba-1, and BACE1, while reducing the level of ADAM10 in their brains. The lower levels of synaptic proteins and enhanced oxidative stress detected in the hippocampus of APP mice were aggravated to fluoride.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that exposure to fluoride, even at lower concentration, can aggravate the deficit in learning and memory and neuropathological lesions of the mice that express the high level of APP.