Mushroom dendritic spine structures are essential for memory storage and the loss of mushroom spines may explain memory defects in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The stability of mushroom spines depends on stromal interaction molecule 2 (STIM2)-mediated neuronal-store-operated Ca2+influx (nSOC) pathway, which is compromised inADmouse models, in aging neurons, and in sporadicAD patients. Here, we demonstrate that the Transient Receptor Potential Canonical 6 (TRPC6) and Orai2 channels form a STIM2-regulated nSOC Ca2+ channel complex in hippocampal mushroom spines. We further demonstrate that a known TRPC6 activator, hyperforin, and a novel nSOC positive modulator, NSN21778 (NSN), can stimulate activity of nSOC pathway in the spines and rescue mushroom spine loss in both presenilin and APP knock-in mouse models of AD. We further show that NSN rescues hippocampal long-term potentiation impairment in APP knock-in mouse model. We conclude that the STIM2-regulated TRPC6/Orai2 nSOC channel complex in dendritic mushroom spines is a new therapeutic target for the treatment of memory loss in aging and AD and that NSN is a potential candidate molecule for therapeutic intervention in brain aging and AD.
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