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Alterations in the nigrostriatal system following conditional inactivation of α-synuclein in neurons of adult and aging mice

Ninkina, Natalia ORCID:, Tarasova, Tatiana V., Chaprov, Kirill D., Roman, Andrei Yu, Kukharsky, Michail S., Kolik, Larisa G., Ovchinnikov, Ruslan, Ustyugov, Aleksey A. ORCID:, Durnev, Andrey D. and Buchman, Vladimir L. ORCID: 2020. Alterations in the nigrostriatal system following conditional inactivation of α-synuclein in neurons of adult and aging mice. Neurobiology of Aging 91 , pp. 76-87. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.02.026

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The aetiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are tightly linked to he gain-offunction of α-synuclein. However, gradual accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates in dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) leads to the depletion of the functional pool of soluble α-synuclein and therefore, creates a loss-of-function conditions, particularly in presynaptic terminals of these neurons. Studies of if and how this late-onset depletion of a protein involved in many important steps of neurotransmission contributes to PD progression and particularly, to worsening the nigrostriatal pathology at late stages of the disease are limited and obtained data are controversial. Recently we produced a mouse line for conditional knockout of the gene encoding α-synuclein and here we used its tamoxifen-inducible pan-neuronal inactivation to study consequences of the adult-onset (from the age of 6 months) and late-onset (from the age of 12 months) α-synuclein depletion to the nigrostriatal system. No significant changes of animal balance/coordination, the number of dopaminergic neurons in the SNpc and the content of dopamine and its metabolites in the striatum were observed after adult-onset α synuclein depletion but in ageing (18-month old) late-onset depleted mice we found significant reduction of major dopamine metabolites without changes to the content of dopamine itself. Our data suggest that this might be caused, at least partially, by reduced expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase ALDH1a1 and could lead to accumulation of toxic intermediates of dopamine catabolism. By extrapolating our findings to a potential clinical situation, we suggest that therapeutic downregulation of α-synuclein expression in PD patients is a generally safe option as it should not cause adverse side effects on the functionality of their nigrostriatal system. However, if started in aged patients, this type of therapy might trigger slight functional changes of the nigrostriatal system with potentially unwanted additive effect to already existing pathology.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the CC-BY Attribution 4.0 International license.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0197-4580
Funders: Parkinson's UK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 24 February 2020
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 14:01

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