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Marcus Davidsson

Marcus Davidsson

Postdoctoral fellow

Marcus Davidsson

Novel AAV-Based Rat Model of Forebrain Synucleinopathy Shows Extensive Pathologies and Progressive Loss of Cholinergic Interneurons.

Author

  • Patrick Aldrin-Kirk
  • Marcus Davidsson
  • Staffan Holmqvist
  • Jia-Yi Li
  • Tomas Björklund

Summary, in English

Synucleinopathies, characterized by intracellular aggregation of α-synuclein protein, share a number of features in pathology and disease progression. However, the vulnerable cell population differs significantly between the disorders, despite being caused by the same protein. While the vulnerability of dopamine cells in the substantia nigra to α-synuclein over-expression, and its link to Parkinson's disease, is well studied, animal models recapitulating the cortical degeneration in dementia with Lewy-bodies (DLB) are much less mature. The aim of this study was to develop a first rat model of widespread progressive synucleinopathy throughout the forebrain using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector mediated gene delivery. Through bilateral injection of an AAV6 vector expressing human wild-type α-synuclein into the forebrain of neonatal rats, we were able to achieve widespread, robust α-synuclein expression with preferential expression in the frontal cortex. These animals displayed a progressive emergence of hyper-locomotion and dysregulated response to the dopaminergic agonist apomorphine. The animals receiving the α-synuclein vector displayed significant α-synuclein pathology including intra-cellular inclusion bodies, axonal pathology and elevated levels of phosphorylated α-synuclein, accompanied by significant loss of cortical neurons and a progressive reduction in both cortical and striatal ChAT positive interneurons. Furthermore, we found evidence of α-synuclein sequestered by IBA-1 positive microglia, which was coupled with a distinct change in morphology. In areas of most prominent pathology, the total α-synuclein levels were increased to, on average, two-fold, which is similar to the levels observed in patients with SNCA gene triplication, associated with cortical Lewy body pathology. This study provides a novel rat model of progressive cortical synucleinopathy, showing for the first time that cholinergic interneurons are vulnerable to α-synuclein over-expression. This animal model provides a powerful new tool for studies of neuronal degeneration in conditions of widespread cortical α-synuclein pathology, such as DLB, as well an attractive model for the exploration of novel biomarkers.

Department/s

  • Molecular Neuromodulation
  • IPSC Laboratory for CNS Disease Modeling
  • Neural Plasticity and Repair
  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease

Publishing year

2014

Language

English

Publication/Series

PLoS ONE

Volume

9

Issue

7

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Public Library of Science

Topic

  • Neurosciences

Status

Published

Research group

  • Molecular Neuromodulation
  • IPSC Laboratory for CNS Disease Modeling
  • Neural Plasticity and Repair

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1932-6203