Behavioral characterization of A53T mice reveals early and late stage deficits related to Parkinson's disease.
ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology is characterized by the formation of intra-neuronal inclusions called Lewy bodies, which are comprised of alpha-synuclein (?-syn). Duplication, triplication or genetic mutations in ?-syn (A53T, A30P and E46K) are linked to autosomal dominant PD; thus implicating its role in the pathogenesis of PD. In both PD patients and mouse models, there is increasing evidence that neuronal dysfunction occurs before the accumulation of protein aggregates (i.e., ?-syn) and neurodegeneration. Characterization of the timing and nature of symptomatic dysfunction is important for understanding the impact of ?-syn on disease progression. Furthermore, this knowledge is essential for identifying pathways and molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. To this end, we examined various functional and morphological endpoints in the transgenic mouse model expressing the human A53T ?-syn variant directed by the mouse prion promoter at specific ages relating to disease progression (2, 6 and 12 months of age). Our findings indicate A53T mice develop fine, sensorimotor, and synaptic deficits before the onset of age-related gross motor and cognitive dysfunction. Results from open field and rotarod tests show A53T mice develop age-dependent changes in locomotor activity and reduced anxiety-like behavior. Additionally, digigait analysis shows these mice develop an abnormal gait by 12 months of age. A53T mice also exhibit spatial memory deficits at 6 and 12 months, as demonstrated by Y-maze performance. In contrast to gross motor and cognitive changes, A53T mice display significant impairments in fine- and sensorimotor tasks such as grooming, nest building and acoustic startle as early as 1-2 months of age. These mice also show significant abnormalities in basal synaptic transmission, paired-pulse facilitation and long-term depression (LTD). Combined, these data indicate the A53T model exhibits early- and late-onset behavioral and synaptic impairments similar to PD patients and may provide useful endpoints for assessing novel therapeutic interventions for PD.
Project description:Transgenic mice line M83 that express the A53T mutant α-synuclein protein at six times the level of endogenous mice α-synuclein are a model of α-synucleinopathy found in Parkinson's disease (PD). This Hualpha-Syn (A53T) PD model is useful in assessing non-motor deficits at earlier stages of onset of PD. We report findings on metabolic changes using [<sup>18</sup>F]FDG PET/CT in the Hualpha-Syn (A53T) PD mouse model in comparison to non-carrier mice. Whole-body PET/CT imaging of male and female mice were carried out 2 h after [<sup>18</sup>F]FDG ip administration under 3% isoflurane anesthesia. Brain images were analyzed with PET images coregistered to a mouse brain MRI template. Hualpha-Syn (A53T) mice had significantly lower [<sup>18</sup>F]FDG uptake in several brain regions compared to the no-carrier mice. Significant hind limb muscle and lower spinal cord [<sup>18</sup>F]FDG hypometabolism at 9 months of age in A53T PD mice was also indicative of neurodegenerative disease, with a progressive motoric dysfunction leading to death. Significant decrease (up to 30%) in [<sup>18</sup>F]FDG uptake were observed in 9-month old male and female Hualpha-Syn (A53) mice. This is consistent with the cortical hypometabolism in PD patients. Hualpha-Syn (A53) mice may thus be a suitable model for studies related to PD α-synucleinopathy for the discovery of new biomarkers.
Project description:Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ?4 genotype is associated with increased risk of dementia in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the mechanism is not clear, because patients often have a mixture of ?-synuclein (?Syn), amyloid-? (A?), and tau pathologies. APOE ?4 exacerbates brain A? pathology, as well as tau pathology, but it is not clear whether APOE genotype independently regulates ?Syn pathology. In this study, we generated A53T ?Syn transgenic mice (A53T) on Apoe knockout (A53T/EKO) or human APOE knockin backgrounds (A53T/E2, E3, and E4). At 12 months of age, A53T/E4 mice accumulated higher amounts of brainstem detergent-insoluble phosphorylated ?Syn compared to A53T/EKO and A53T/E3; detergent-insoluble ?Syn in A53T/E2 mice was undetectable. By immunohistochemistry, A53T/E4 mice displayed a higher burden of phosphorylated ?Syn and reactive gliosis compared to A53T/E2 mice. A53T/E2 mice exhibited increased survival and improved motor performance compared to other APOE genotypes. In a complementary model of ?Syn spreading, striatal injection of ?Syn preformed fibrils induced greater accumulation of ?Syn pathology in the substantia nigra of A53T/E4 mice compared to A53T/E2 and A53T/EKO mice. In two separate cohorts of human patients with PD, APOE ?4/?4 individuals showed the fastest rate of cognitive decline over time. Our results demonstrate that APOE genotype directly regulates ?Syn pathology independent of its established effects on A? and tau, corroborate the finding that APOE ?4 exacerbates pathology, and suggest that APOE ?2 may protect against ?Syn aggregation and neurodegeneration in synucleinopathies.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is a prevalent motor disease caused by the accumulation of mutated α-synuclein (α-Syn); however, its early stages are also characterized by non-motor symptoms, such as olfactory loss, cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety. The therapeutic effects of environmental enrichment (EE) on motor recovery have been reported, but its effects on non-motor symptoms remain unclear. Herein, we reveal the beneficial effects of EE on PD-related non-motor symptoms and changes in synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens. To investigate its therapeutic effects in the early phase of PD, we randomly assigned eight-month-old mice overexpressing human A53T (hA53T) α-Syn to either the EE or standard condition groups for two months. Next, we performed behavioral tests and biochemical and histological analyses at 10 months of age. EE significantly alleviated locomotor hyperactivity and anxiety during the early stages of PD. It normalized the levels of tyrosine hydroxylase, phosphorylated and oligomeric α-Syn, and soluble <i>N</i>-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor complex-forming proteins, including synaptosomal-associated protein, 25 kDa, syntaxin1, and vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2). Moreover, the interactions between VAMP2 and pSer129 α-Syn were markedly reduced following EE. The restoration of synaptic vesicle transportation status may underlie the neuroprotective effects of EE in hA53T α-Syn mice.
Project description:Mutations in alpha-synuclein (alpha-Syn) cause Parkinson's disease (PD) in a small number of pedigrees with familial PD. Moreover, alpha-Syn accumulates as a major component of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, intraneuronal inclusions that are neuropathological hallmarks of PD. To better understand the pathogenic relationship between alterations in the biology of alpha-Syn and PD-associated neurodegeneration, we generated multiple lines of transgenic mice expressing high levels of either wild-type or familial PD-linked Ala-30 --> Pro (A30P) or Ala-53 --> Thr (A53T) human alpha-Syns. The mice expressing the A53T human alpha-Syn, but not wild-type or the A30P variants, develop adult-onset neurodegenerative disease with a progressive motoric dysfunction leading to death. Pathologically, affected mice exhibit neuronal abnormalities (in perikarya and neurites) including pathological accumulations of alpha-Syn and ubiquitin. Consistent with abnormal neuronal accumulation of alpha-Syn, brain regions with pathology exhibit increases in detergent-insoluble alpha-Syn and alpha-Syn aggregates. Our results demonstrate that the A53T mutant alpha-Syn causes significantly greater in vivo neurotoxicity as compared with other alpha-Syn variants. Further, alpha-Syn-dependent neurodegeneration is associated with abnormal accumulation of detergent-insoluble alpha-Syn.
Project description:Both ?-Synuclein (?Syn) accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction have been implicated in the pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Although studies suggest that ?Syn and its missense mutant, A53T, preferentially accumulate in the mitochondria, the mechanisms by which ?Syn and mitochondrial proteins regulate each other to trigger mitochondrial and neuronal toxicity are poorly understood. ATP-dependent Clp protease (ClpP), a mitochondrial matrix protease, plays an important role in regulating mitochondrial protein turnover and bioenergetics activity. Here, we show that the protein level of ClpP is selectively decreased in ?Syn-expressing cell culture and neurons derived from iPS cells of PD patient carrying ?Syn A53T mutant, and in dopaminergic (DA) neurons of ?Syn A53T mice and PD patient postmortem brains. Deficiency in ClpP induces an overload of mitochondrial misfolded/unfolded proteins, suppresses mitochondrial respiratory activity, increases mitochondrial oxidative damage and causes cell death. Overexpression of ClpP reduces ?Syn-induced mitochondrial oxidative stress through enhancing the level of Superoxide Dismutase-2 (SOD2), and suppresses the accumulation of ?Syn S129 phosphorylation and promotes neuronal morphology in neurons derived from PD patient iPS cells carrying ?Syn A53T mutant. Moreover, we find that ?Syn WT and A53T mutant interact with ClpP and suppress its peptidase activity. The binding of ?Syn to ClpP further promotes a distribution of ClpP from soluble to insoluble cellular fraction in vitro and in vivo, leading to reduced solubility of ClpP. Compensating for the loss of ClpP in the substantia nigra of ?Syn A53T mice by viral expression of ClpP suppresses mitochondrial oxidative damage, and reduces ?Syn pathology and behavioral deficits of mice. Our findings provide novel insights into the mechanism underlying ?Syn-induced neuronal pathology, and they suggest that ClpP might be a useful therapeutic target for PD and other synucleinopathies.
Project description:Abnormal intraneuronal accumulation of the presynaptic protein ?-synuclein (?-syn) is implicated in the etiology of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Recent work revealed that mice expressing human ?-syn with the alanine-53-threonine (A53T) mutation have a similar phenotype to the human condition, exhibiting long-term potentiation deficits, learning and memory deficits, and inhibitory hippocampal remodeling, all of which were reversed by genetic ablation of microtubule-associated protein tau. Significantly, memory deficits were associated with histological signs of network hyperactivity/seizures. Electrophysiological abnormalities are often seen in parkinsonian dementias. Baseline electroencephalogram (EEG) slowing is used as a supportive diagnostic feature in DLB and PDD, and patients with these diseases may exhibit indicators of broad network dysfunction such as sleep dysregulation, myoclonus, and seizures. Given the translational significance, we examined whether human A53T ?-syn expressing mice exhibit endogenous-tau-dependent EEG abnormalities, as measured with epidural electrodes over the frontal and parietal cortices. Using template-based waveform sorting, we determined that A53T mice have significantly high numbers of epileptiform events as early as 3-4 months of age and throughout life, and this effect is markedly attenuated in the absence of tau. Epileptic myoclonus occurred in half of A53T mice and was markedly reduced by tau ablation. In spectral analysis, tau ablation partially reduced EEG slowing in 6-7 month transgenic mice. We found abnormal sleeping patterns in transgenic mice that were more pronounced in older groups, but did not find evidence that this was influenced by tau genotype. Together, these data support the notion that tau facilitates A53T ?-syn-induced hyperexcitability that both precedes and coincides with associated synaptic, cognitive, and behavioral effects. Tau also contributes to some aspects of EEG slowing in A53T mice. Importantly, our work supports tau-based approaches as an effective early intervention in ?-synucleinopathies to treat aberrant network activity.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. A key pathological feature of PD is Lewy bodies, of which the major protein component is ?-synuclein (?-syn). Human genetic studies have shown that mutations (A53T, A30P, E46K) and multiplication of the ?-syn gene are linked to familial PD. Mice overexpressing the human A53T mutant ?-syn gene develop severe movement disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of ?-syn toxicity are not well understood. Recently, mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked with multiple neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease. Here we investigated whether mitochondrial motility, dynamics and respiratory function are affected in primary neurons from a mouse model expressing the human A53T mutation. We found that mitochondrial motility was selectively inhibited in A53T neurons while transport of other organelles was not affected. In addition, A53T expressing neurons showed impairment in mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial respiratory function. Furthermore, we found that rapamycin, an autophagy inducer, rescued the decreased mitochondrial mobility. Taken together, these data demonstrate that A53T ?-syn impairs mitochondrial function and dynamics and the deficit of mitochondrial transport is reversible, providing further understanding of the disease pathogenesis and a potential therapeutic strategy for PD.
Project description:α-Synuclein (α-Syn) protein is involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Point mutations and multiplications of the α-Syn, which encodes the <i>SNCA</i> gene, are correlated with early-onset PD, therefore the reduction in a-Syn synthesis could be a potential therapy for PD if delivered to the key affected neurons. Several experimental strategies for PD have been developed in recent years using oligonucleotide therapeutics. However, some of them have failed or even caused neuronal toxicity. One limiting step in the success of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics is their delivery to the brain compartment, and once there, to selected neuronal populations. Previously, we developed an indatraline-conjugated antisense oligonucleotide (IND-1233-ASO), that selectively reduces α-Syn synthesis in midbrain monoamine neurons of mice, and nonhuman primates. Here, we extended these observations using a transgenic male mouse strain carrying both A30P and A53T mutant human α-Syn (A30P*A53T*α-Syn). We found that A30P*A53T*α-Syn mice at 4-5 months of age showed 3.5-fold increases in human α-Syn expression in dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and locus coeruleus (LC), respectively, compared with mouse α-Syn levels. In parallel, transgenic mice exhibited altered nigrostriatal DA neurotransmission, motor alterations, and an anxiety-like phenotype. Intracerebroventricular IND-1233-ASO administration (100 µg/day, 28 days) prevented the α-Syn synthesis and accumulation in the SNc and LC, and recovered DA neurotransmission, although it did not reverse the behavioral phenotype. Therefore, the present therapeutic strategy based on a conjugated ASO could be used for the selective inhibition of α-Syn expression in PD-vulnerable monoamine neurons, showing the benefit of the optimization of ASO molecules as a disease modifying therapy for PD and related α-synucleinopathies.
Project description:Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by multiple symptoms including olfactory dysfunction, whose underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we explored pathologic changes in the olfactory pathway of transgenic (Tg) mice of both sexes expressing the human A30P mutant α-synuclein (α-syn; α-syn-Tg mice) at 6–7 and 12–14 months of age, representing early and late-stages of motor progression, respectively. α-Syn-Tg mice at late stages exhibited olfactory behavioral deficits, which correlated with severe α-syn pathology in projection neurons (PNs) of the olfactory pathway. In parallel, olfactory bulb (OB) neurogenesis in α-syn-Tg mice was reduced in the OB granule cells at six to seven months and OB periglomerular cells at 12–14 months, respectively, both of which could contribute to olfactory dysfunction. Proteomic analyses showed a disruption in endocytic and exocytic pathways in the OB during the early stages which appeared exacerbated at the synaptic terminals when the mice developed olfactory deficits at 12–14 months. Our data suggest that (1) the α-syn-Tg mice recapitulate the olfactory functional deficits seen in PD; (2) olfactory structures exhibit spatiotemporal disparities for vulnerability to α-syn pathology; (3) α-syn pathology is restricted to projection neurons in the olfactory pathway; (4) neurogenesis in adult α-syn-Tg mice is reduced in the OB; and (5) synaptic endocytosis and exocytosis defects in the OB may further explain olfactory deficits.
Project description:Parkinsonâs disease (PD), the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder at old age, can be caused by elevated expression, or the A53T mutation, of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (SNCA). PD is characterized pathologically by the preferential vulnerability of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projection neurons. Here, we used two mouse lines overexpressing human A53T-SNCA around ages 6 and 18 months and studied striatal dysfunction in the absence of neurodegeneration to understand early disease mechanisms. High pressure liquid chromatography analysis of striatal neurotransmitter content demonstrated that dopamine (DA) levels correlated directly with the level of expression of SNCA, an observation also observed in SNCA deficient mice. In the striatum of aged A53TSNCA overexpressing mice, where DA levels were elevated, a paradoxical upregulation of dopamine receptors DRD1A and DRD2 was detected by immunoblots and autoradiography, findings compatible with the notion of abnormal vesicle release. Extensive transcriptome studies via microarrays and quantitative real-time RT-PCR validation of altered Homer1, Cb1, Atf2 and Pde7b transcript levels indicated a progressive reduction in the postsynaptic DA response. As functional consequences, long term depression was absent in corticostriatal slices from aged transgenic mice and an insidious decrease of spontaneous locomotor activity of these animals was found in open field tests. Taken together, the dysfunctional neurotransmission and decreased synaptic plasticity seen in the A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice reflects early functional changes within the basal ganglia resulting from synucleinopathy prior to frank neurodegeneration. Thus, preclinical stages of PD may be modeled in this mouse. Parkinsonâs disease (PD), the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder at old age, can be caused by elevated expression, or the A53T mutation, of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (SNCA). PD is characterized pathologically by the preferential vulnerability of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projection neurons. Here, we used two mouse lines overexpressing human A53T-SNCA around ages 6 and 18 months and studied striatal dysfunction in the absence of neurodegeneration to understand early disease mechanisms. High pressure liquid chromatography analysis of striatal neurotransmitter content demonstrated that dopamine (DA) levels correlated directly with the level of expression of SNCA, an observation also observed in SNCA deficient mice. In the striatum of aged A53TSNCA overexpressing mice, where DA levels were elevated, a paradoxical upregulation of dopamine receptors DRD1A and DRD2 was detected by immunoblots and autoradiography, findings compatible with the notion of abnormal vesicle release. Extensive transcriptome studies via microarrays and quantitative real-time RT-PCR validation of altered Homer1, Cb1, Atf2 and Pde7b transcript levels indicated a progressive reduction in the postsynaptic DA response. As functional consequences, long term depression was absent in corticostriatal slices from aged transgenic mice and an insidious decrease of spontaneous locomotor activity of these animals was found in open field tests. Taken together, the dysfunctional neurotransmission and decreased synaptic plasticity seen in the A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice reflects early functional changes within the basal ganglia resulting from synucleinopathy prior to frank neurodegeneration. Thus, preclinical stages of PD may be modeled in this mouse. Tissue was dissected from the brain of 6 months old (2 WT / 2 TgA / 2 TgB striata, 2 WT / 2 TgA / 2 TgB brainstems/midbrains, 2 WT / 2 TgA / 2 TgB cerebella) and of 18+ months old mice (4 WT / 2 TgA / 2 TgB striata, 6 WT / 4 TgA / 3 TgB brainstems/midbrains, 6 WT / 5 TgA / 4 TgB cerebella). Tissues from individual, particularly old mice up to 28 months age were included here to strengthen the definition of progression markers reflecting old age.