Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with high prevalence rate among the elderly population. A large number of clinical studies have suggested repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a promising non-invasive treatment for patients with mild to moderate AD. However, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain largely uninvestigated. In the current study, we examined the effect of high frequency rTMS treatment on the cognitive functions and pathological changes in the brains of 4- to 5-month old 5xFAD mice, an early pathological stage with pronounced amyloidopathy and cognitive deficit. Our results showed that rTMS treatment effectively prevented the decline of long-term memories of the 5xFAD mice for novel objects and locations. Importantly, rTMS treatment significantly increased the drainage efficiency of brain clearance pathways, including the glymphatic system in brain parenchyma and the meningeal lymphatics, in the 5xFAD mouse model. Significant reduction of Aβ deposits, suppression of microglia and astrocyte activation, and prevention of decline of neuronal activity as indicated by the elevated c-FOS expression, were observed in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of the rTMS-treated 5xFAD mice. Collectively, these findings provide a novel mechanistic insight of rTMS in regulating brain drainage system and β-amyloid clearance in the 5xFAD mouse model, and suggest the potential use of the clearance rate of contrast tracer in cerebrospinal fluid as a prognostic biomarker for the effectiveness of rTMS treatment in AD patients.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Glymphatic system
- Meningeal lymphatics
- Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation