Tau gene transfer, but not alpha-synuclein, induces both progressive dopamine neuron degeneration and rotational behavior in the rat

Ronald L. Klein, Robert D. Dayton, Wen Lang Lin, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using a viral vector for mutant (P301L) tau, we studied the effects of gene transfer to the rat substantia nigra in terms of structural and functional properties of dopaminergic neurons. The mutant tau vector caused progressive loss of pars compacta dopaminergic neurons over time, reduced striatal dopamine content, and amphetamine-stimulated rotational behavior consistent with a specific lesion effect. In addition, structural studies demonstrated neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic pathology. Wild-type tau had similar effects on neuronal loss and rotational behavior. In contrast, mutant α-synuclein vectors did not induce rotational behavior, although α-synuclein filaments formed in nigrostriatal axons. Dopamine neuron function is affected by tau gene transfer and appears to be more susceptible to tau- rather than α-synuclein-related damage in this model. Both tau and α-synuclein are important for substantia nigra neurodegeneration models in rats, further indicating their potential as therapeutic targets for human diseases involving loss of dopamine neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-73
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Keywords

  • Adeno-associated virus
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurofibrillary tangles
  • Substantia nigra
  • Tau
  • α-Synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology

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