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α-Synuclein induced toxicity in brain stem serotonin neurons mediated by an AAV vector driven by the tryptophan hydroxylase promoter

Shin, Eunju, Wan, Oi Wan, Mattasson, Bengt, Caudal, Dorian, Svenningsson, Per and Bjorklund, Anders 2016. α-Synuclein induced toxicity in brain stem serotonin neurons mediated by an AAV vector driven by the tryptophan hydroxylase promoter. Scientific Reports 6 , 26285. 10.1038/srep26285

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We studied the impact of α-synuclein overexpression in brainstem serotonin neurons using a novel vector construct where the expression of human wildtype α-synuclein is driven by the tryptophan hydroxylase promoter, allowing expression of α-synuclein at elevated levels, and with high selectivity, in serotonergic neurons. α-Synuclein induced degenerative changes in axons and dendrites, displaying a distorted appearance, suggesting accumulation and aggregation of α-synuclein as a result of impaired axonal transport, accompanied by a 40% loss of terminals, as assessed in the hippocampus. Tissue levels of serotonin and its major metabolite 5-HIAA remained largely unaltered, and the performance of the α-synuclein overexpressing rats in tests of spatial learning (water maze), anxiety related behavior (elevated plus maze) and depressive-like behavior (forced swim test) was not different from control, suggesting that the impact of the developing axonal pathology on serotonin neurotransmission was relatively mild. Overexpression of α-synuclein in the raphe nuclei, combined with overexpression in basal forebrain cholinergic neurons, resulted in more pronounced axonal pathology and significant impairment in the elevated plus maze. We conclude that α-synuclein pathology in serotonergic or cholinergic neurons alone is not sufficient to impair non-motor behaviors, but that it is their simultaneous involvement that determines severity of such symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Macmillan
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 June 2016
Date of Acceptance: 27 April 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:10

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