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      Modeling Parkinson’s disease in LRRK2 rodents


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          Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 ( LRRK2) gene are associated with familial and sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Sporadic PD and LRRK2 PD share main clinical and neuropathological features, namely hypokinesia, degeneration of nigro-striatal dopamine neurons and α-synuclein aggregates in the form of Lewy bodies. Animals harboring the most common LRRK2 mutations, i.e. p.G2019S and p.R1441C/G, have been generated to replicate the parkinsonian phenotype and investigate the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Disappointingly, however, LRRK2 rodents did not consistently phenocopy hypokinesia and nigro-striatal degeneration, or showed Lewy body-like aggregates. Instead, LRRK2 rodents manifested non-motor signs and dysregulated transmission at dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic synapses that are reminiscent of behavioral and functional network changes observed in the prodromal phase of the disease. LRRK2 rodents also manifested greater susceptibility to different parkinsonian toxins or stressors when subjected to dual-hit or multiple-hit protocols, confirming LRRK2 mutations as genetic risk factors. In conclusion, LRRK2 rodents represent a unique tool to identify the molecular mechanisms through which LRRK2 modulates the course and clinical presentations of PD and to study the interplay between genetic, intrinsic and environmental protective/risk factors in PD pathogenesis.

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          Parkinson disease

          Parkinson disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder that affects 2-3% of the population ≥65 years of age. Neuronal loss in the substantia nigra, which causes striatal dopamine deficiency, and intracellular inclusions containing aggregates of α-synuclein are the neuropathological hallmarks of Parkinson disease. Multiple other cell types throughout the central and peripheral autonomic nervous system are also involved, probably from early disease onwards. Although clinical diagnosis relies on the presence of bradykinesia and other cardinal motor features, Parkinson disease is associated with many non-motor symptoms that add to overall disability. The underlying molecular pathogenesis involves multiple pathways and mechanisms: α-synuclein proteostasis, mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, calcium homeostasis, axonal transport and neuroinflammation. Recent research into diagnostic biomarkers has taken advantage of neuroimaging in which several modalities, including PET, single-photon emission CT (SPECT) and novel MRI techniques, have been shown to aid early and differential diagnosis. Treatment of Parkinson disease is anchored on pharmacological substitution of striatal dopamine, in addition to non-dopaminergic approaches to address both motor and non-motor symptoms and deep brain stimulation for those developing intractable L-DOPA-related motor complications. Experimental therapies have tried to restore striatal dopamine by gene-based and cell-based approaches, and most recently, aggregation and cellular transport of α-synuclein have become therapeutic targets. One of the greatest current challenges is to identify markers for prodromal disease stages, which would allow novel disease-modifying therapies to be started earlier.
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            Identification of novel risk loci, causal insights, and heritable risk for Parkinson's disease: a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies

            Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Parkinson's disease have increased the scope of biological knowledge about the disease over the past decade. We aimed to use the largest aggregate of GWAS data to identify novel risk loci and gain further insight into the causes of Parkinson's disease.
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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.

                Author and article information

                Role: Writing—review & editing
                Role: Writing—review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Funding acquisitionRole: Writing—original draftRole: Writing—review & editing
                Neuronal Signal
                Neuronal Signal
                Neuronal Signaling
                Portland Press Ltd.
                September 2023
                16 August 2023
                : 7
                : 3
                : NS20220040
                Department of Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Michele Morari ( michele.morari@ 123456unife.it )
                © 2023 The Author(s).

                This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

                : 20 April 2023
                : 21 July 2023
                : 31 July 2023
                : 31 July 2023
                Page count
                Pages: 23
                Therapeutics & Molecular Medicine
                Molecular Bases of Health & Disease
                Review Articles

                dopamine,leucine rich repeat kinase,neurodegeneration,parkinsons disease,transgenic mice


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