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      α-Synuclein strains cause distinct synucleinopathies after local and systemic administration

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          Abstract

          Misfolded protein aggregates represent a continuum with overlapping features in neurodegenerative diseases, but differences in protein components and affected brain regions. The molecular hallmark of synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy are megadalton α-synuclein-rich deposits suggestive of one molecular event causing distinct disease phenotypes. Glial α-synuclein (α-SYN) filamentous deposits are prominent in multiple system atrophy and neuronal α-SYN inclusions are found in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The discovery of α-SYN assemblies with different structural characteristics or 'strains' has led to the hypothesis that strains could account for the different clinico-pathological traits within synucleinopathies. In this study we show that α-SYN strain conformation and seeding propensity lead to distinct histopathological and behavioural phenotypes. We assess the properties of structurally well-defined α-SYN assemblies (oligomers, ribbons and fibrils) after injection in rat brain. We prove that α-SYN strains amplify in vivo. Fibrils seem to be the major toxic strain, resulting in progressive motor impairment and cell death, whereas ribbons cause a distinct histopathological phenotype displaying Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy traits. Additionally, we show that α-SYN assemblies cross the blood-brain barrier and distribute to the central nervous system after intravenous injection. Our results demonstrate that distinct α-SYN strains display differential seeding capacities, inducing strain-specific pathology and neurotoxic phenotypes.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Pathological α-synuclein transmission initiates Parkinson-like neurodegeneration in nontransgenic mice.

          Parkinson's disease is characterized by abundant α-synuclein (α-Syn) neuronal inclusions, known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, and the massive loss of midbrain dopamine neurons. However, a cause-and-effect relationship between Lewy inclusion formation and neurodegeneration remains unclear. Here, we found that in wild-type nontransgenic mice, a single intrastriatal inoculation of synthetic α-Syn fibrils led to the cell-to-cell transmission of pathologic α-Syn and Parkinson's-like Lewy pathology in anatomically interconnected regions. Lewy pathology accumulation resulted in progressive loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, but not in the adjacent ventral tegmental area, and was accompanied by reduced dopamine levels culminating in motor deficits. This recapitulation of a neurodegenerative cascade thus establishes a mechanistic link between transmission of pathologic α-Syn and the cardinal features of Parkinson's disease.
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            Lewy bodies in grafted neurons in subjects with Parkinson's disease suggest host-to-graft disease propagation.

            Two subjects with Parkinson's disease who had long-term survival of transplanted fetal mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons (11-16 years) developed alpha-synuclein-positive Lewy bodies in grafted neurons. Our observation has key implications for understanding Parkinson's pathogenesis by providing the first evidence, to our knowledge, that the disease can propagate from host to graft cells. However, available data suggest that the majority of grafted cells are functionally unimpaired after a decade, and recipients can still experience long-term symptomatic relief.
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              Lewy body-like pathology in long-term embryonic nigral transplants in Parkinson's disease.

              Fourteen years after transplantation into the striatum of an individual with Parkinson's disease, grafted nigral neurons were found to have Lewy body-like inclusions that stained positively for alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin and to have reduced immunostaining for dopamine transporter. These pathological changes suggest that Parkinson's disease is an ongoing process that can affect grafted cells in the striatum in a manner similar to host dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. These findings have implications for cell-based therapies and for understanding the cause of Parkinson's disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                June 2015
                June 10 2015
                June 2015
                : 522
                : 7556
                : 340-344
                Article
                10.1038/nature14547
                26061766
                © 2015

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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