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      Brain-to-stomach transfer of α-synuclein via vagal preganglionic projections

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          Abstract

          Detection of α-synuclein lesions in peripheral tissues is a feature of human synucleinopathies of likely pathogenetic relevance and bearing important clinical implications. Experiments were carried out to elucidate the relationship between α-synuclein accumulation in the brain and in peripheral organs, and to identify potential pathways involved in long-distance protein transfer. Results of this in vivo study revealed a route-specific transmission of α-synuclein from the rat brain to the stomach. Following targeted midbrain overexpression of human α-synuclein, the exogenous protein was capable of reaching the gastric wall where it was accumulated into preganglionic vagal terminals. This brain-to-stomach connection likely involved intra- and inter-neuronal transfer of non-fibrillar α-synuclein that first reached the medulla oblongata, then gained access into cholinergic neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve and finally traveled via efferent fibers of these neurons contained within the vagus nerve. Data also showed a particular propensity of vagal motor neurons and efferents to accrue α-synuclein and deliver it to peripheral tissues; indeed, following its midbrain overexpression, human α-synuclein was detected within gastric nerve endings of visceromotor but not viscerosensory vagal projections. Thus, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve represents a key relay center for central-to-peripheral α-synuclein transmission, and efferent vagal fibers may act as unique conduits for protein transfer. The presence of α-synuclein in peripheral tissues could reflect, at least in some synucleinopathy patients, an ongoing pathological process that originates within the brain and, from there, reaches distant organs innervated by motor vagal projections.

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          Functional and histological studies of the vagus nerve and its branches to the heart, lungs and abdominal viscera in the cat.

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            Generation and characterization of novel conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies for α-synuclein pathology.

            α-Synuclein (α-syn), a small protein that has the intrinsic propensity to aggregate, is implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA), which are collectively known as synucleinopathies. Genetic, pathological, biochemical, and animal modeling studies provided compelling evidence that α-syn aggregation plays a key role in the pathogenesis of PD and related synucleinopathies. It is therefore of utmost importance to develop reliable tools that can detect the aggregated forms of α-syn. We describe here the generation and characterization of six novel conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies that recognize specifically α-syn aggregates but not the soluble, monomeric form of the protein. The antibodies described herein did not recognize monomers or fibrils generated from other amyloidogenic proteins including β-syn, γ-syn, β-amyloid, tau protein, islet amyloid polypeptide and ABri. Interestingly, the antibodies did not react to overlapping linear peptides spanning the entire sequence of α-syn, confirming further that they only detect α-syn aggregates. In immunohistochemical studies, the new conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies showed underappreciated small micro-aggregates and very thin neurites in PD and DLB cases that were not observed with generic pan antibodies that recognize linear epitope. Furthermore, employing one of our conformation-specific antibodies in a sandwich based ELISA, we observed an increase in levels of α-syn oligomers in brain lysates from DLB compared to Alzheimer's disease and control samples. Therefore, the conformation-specific antibodies portrayed herein represent useful tools for research, biomarkers development, diagnosis and even immunotherapy for PD and related pathologies.
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              Alpha-synuclein-immunopositive myenteric neurons and vagal preganglionic terminals: autonomic pathway implicated in Parkinson's disease?

              The protein alpha-synuclein is implicated in the development of Parkinson's disease. The molecule forms Lewy body aggregates that are hallmarks of the disease, has been associated with the spread of neuropathology from the peripheral to the CNS, and appears to be involved with the autonomic disorders responsible for the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of individuals afflicted with Parkinson's. To characterize the normative expression of alpha-synuclein in the innervation of the GI tract, we examined both the postganglionic neurons and the preganglionic projections by which the disease is postulated to retrogradely invade the CNS. Specifically, in Fischer 344 and Sprague-Dawley rats, immunohistochemistry in conjunction with injections of the tracer Dextran-Texas Red was used to determine, respectively, the expression of alpha-synuclein in the myenteric plexus and in the vagal terminals. Alpha-synuclein is expressed in a subpopulation of myenteric neurons, with the proportion of positive somata increasing from the stomach (approximately 3%) through duodenum (proximal, approximately 6%; distal, approximately 13%) to jejunum (approximately 22%). Alpha-synuclein is co-expressed with the nitrergic enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) or the cholinergic markers calbindin and calretinin in regionally specific patterns: approximately 90% of forestomach neurons positive for alpha-synuclein express NOS, whereas approximately 92% of corpus-antrum neurons positive for alpha-synuclein express cholinergic markers. Vagal afferent endings in the myenteric plexus and the GI smooth muscle do not express alpha-synuclein, whereas, virtually all vagal preganglionic projections to the gut express alpha-synuclein, both in axons and in terminal varicosities in apposition with myenteric neurons. Vagotomy eliminates most, but not all, alpha-synuclein-positive neurites in the plexus. Some vagal preganglionic efferents expressing alpha-synuclein form varicose terminal rings around myenteric plexus neurons that are also positive for the protein, thus providing a candidate alpha-synuclein-expressing pathway for the retrograde transport of putative Parkinson's pathogens or toxins from the ENS to the CNS.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                0412041
                133
                Acta Neuropathol
                Acta Neuropathol.
                Acta neuropathologica
                0001-6322
                1432-0533
                7 January 2017
                23 December 2016
                March 2017
                01 March 2018
                : 133
                : 3
                : 381-393
                Affiliations
                [1 ]German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Sigmund-Freud-Strasse 27, 53127 Bonn, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Donato A. Di Monte, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Sigmund-Freud-Strasse 27, 53127 Bonn, Germany, donato.dimonte@ 123456dzne.de , Phone: +49 228 43302650, Fax: +49 228 43302689
                Article
                PMC5326583 PMC5326583 5326583 nihpa838994
                10.1007/s00401-016-1661-y
                5326583
                28012041
                c1d47692-89d8-4e10-9a6f-5aeb4709606c
                History
                Categories
                Article

                enteric nervous system,vagus nerve,synucleinopathies,rat,Parkinson’s disease,adeno-associated virus

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