Theranostics 2022; 12(3):1404-1418. doi:10.7150/thno.68439 This issue

Research Paper

Dysfunction of striatal MeCP2 is associated with cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Sangjoon Lee1,2,3, Tae Kyoo Kim1, Ji Eun Choi1,4, Yunjung Choi1,2, Minsu You1, Jeewon Ryu1, Yoo Lim Chun1, Suji Ham1, Seung Jae Hyeon3, Hoon Ryu1,3, Hye-Sun Kim2,5✉, Heh-In Im1,3,6✉

1. Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, Korea.
2. Department of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea.
3. Brain Science Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, Korea.
4. Department of Biochemistry, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul 04763, Korea.
5. Seoul National University College of Medicine, Bundang Hospital, Sungnam 13620, Korea.
6. Division of Bio-Medical Science & Technology, KIST School, Korea University of Science and Technology, Seoul 02792, Korea.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Lee S, Kim TK, Choi JE, Choi Y, You M, Ryu J, Chun YL, Ham S, Hyeon SJ, Ryu H, Kim HS, Im HI. Dysfunction of striatal MeCP2 is associated with cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Theranostics 2022; 12(3):1404-1418. doi:10.7150/thno.68439. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Rationale: Cerebral Methyl-CpG binding Protein 2 (MeCP2) is involved in several psychiatric disorders that are concomitant with cognitive dysfunction. However, the regulatory function of striatal MeCP2 and its association with Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been largely neglected due to the absence of amyloid plaque accumulation in the striatal region until the later stages of AD progression. Considerable evidence indicates that neuropsychiatric symptoms related to cognitive decline are involved with striatal dysfunction. To this respect, we investigated the epigenetic function of striatal MeCP2 paralleling the pathogenesis of AD.

Methods: We investigated the brain from amyloid precursor protein (APP)/presenilin1 (PS1) transgenic mice and postmortem brain samples from normal subjects and AD patients. The molecular changes in the brain, particularly in the striatal regions, were analyzed with thioflavin S staining, immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and MeCP2 chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq). The cognitive function of APP/PS1 mice was assessed via three behavioral tests: 3-chamber test (3CT), Y-maze test (YMT), and passive avoidance test (PA). A multi-electrode array (MEA) was performed to analyze the neuronal activity of the striatum in APP/PS1 mice.

Results: Striatal MeCP2 expression was increased in the younger (6 months) and older (10 months) ages of APP/PS1 mice, and the genome-wide occupancy of MeCP2 in the younger APP/PS1 showed dysregulated binding patterns in the striatum. Additionally, we confirmed that APP/PS1 mice showed behavioral deficits in multiple cognitive behaviors. Notably, defective cognitive phenotypes and abnormal neuronal activity in old APP/PS1 mice were rescued through the knock-down of striatal MeCP2.

Conclusion: We found that the MeCP2-mediated dysregulation of the epigenome in the striatum is linked to the defects in cognitive behavior and neuronal activity in the AD animal model, and that this alteration is initiated even in the very early stages of AD pathogenesis. Together, our data indicates that MeCP2 may be a potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of AD at asymptomatic and symptomatic stages.

Keywords: MeCP2, Alzheimer's disease, cognitive dysfunctions, striatum, epigenetic regulation