An increase in phosphorylated tau (p-tau) is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and brain hypoxia. Investigation of the association of residue-specific tau hyperphosphorylation and changes in cognition, leads to greater understanding of its potential role in the pathology of memory impairment. The aims of this study are to investigate the involvement of the main metabolic kinases, Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1) and Adenosine Monophosphate Kinase Protein Kinase (AMPK), in tau phosphorylation-derived memory impairment, and to study the potential contribution of the other tau kinases and phosphatases including Glycogen Synthase Kinase (GSK-3β), Protein kinase A (PKA) and Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Spatial memory and learning were tested in a rat global brain ischemic model of reversible cardiac arrest (CA). The phosphorylation levels of LKB1, AMPK, GSK-3β, PP2A, PKA and tau-specific phosphorylation were assessed in rats, subjected to ischaemia/reperfusion and in clinically diagnosed AD and normal human brains. LKB1 and AMPK phosphorylation increased 4 weeks after CA as did AMPK related p-tau (Ser262). The animals showed unchanged levels of GSK-3β specific p-tau (Ser202/Thr205), phospho-PP2A (Tyr307), total GSK-3β, PP2A, phospho-cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) which is an indicator of PKA activity, and no memory deficits. AD brains had hyperphosphorylated tau in all the residues of Ser262, Ser202 and Thr205, with increased phosphorylation of both AMPK (Thr172) and GSK-3β (Ser9), and reduced PP2A levels. Our data suggests a crucial role for a combined activation of tau kinases and phosphatases in adversely affecting memory and that hyperphosphorylation of tau in more than one specific site may be required to create memory deficits.
- Adenosine monophosphate kinase protein kinase
- Glycogen synthase Kinase-3β
- Liver kinase B1
- Protein phosphatase 2A
- Tau phosphorylation