admin December 9, 2017

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by degeneration of substantia nigra dopamine neurons and by intraneuronal aggregates, primarily composed of misfolded α-synuclein. The α-synuclein aggregates in Parkinson’s patients are suggested to first appear in the olfactory bulb and enteric nerves and then propagate, following a stereotypic pattern, via neural pathways to numerous regions across the brain. We recently demonstrated that after injection of either mouse or human α-synuclein fibrils into the olfactory bulb of wild-type mice, α-synuclein fibrils recruited endogenous α-synuclein into pathological aggregates that spread transneuronally to over 40 other brain regions and subregions, over 12 months. We previously reported the progressive spreading of α-synuclein aggregates, between 1 and 12 months following α-synuclein fibril injections, and now report how far the pathology has spread 18- and 23-month post-injection in this model. Our data show that between 12 and 18 months, there is a further increase in the number of brain regions exhibiting pathology after human, and to a lesser extent mouse, α-synuclein fibril injections. At both 18 and 23 months after injection of mouse and human α-synuclein fibrils, we observed a reduction in the density of α-synuclein aggregates in some brain regions compared to others at 12 months. At 23 months, no additional brain regions exhibited α-synuclein aggregates compared to earlier time points. In addition, we also demonstrate that the induced α-synucleinopathy triggered a significant early neuron loss in the anterior olfactory nucleus. By contrast, there was no loss of mitral neurons in the olfactory bulb, even at 18 month post-injection. We speculate that the lack of continued progression of α-synuclein pathology is due to compromise of the neural circuitry, consequential to neuron loss and possibly to the activation of proteolytic mechanisms in resilient neurons of wild-type mice that counterbalances the spread and seeding by degrading pathogenic α-synuclein.

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