Asuni, A.A., Hilton, K., Siskova, Z., Lunnon, K., Reynolds, R., Perry, V.H. and O'Connor, V.
Alpha-synuclein deficiency in the C57BL/6JOlaHsd strain does not modify disease progression in the ME7-model of prion disease
Neuroscience, 165, (3), . (doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.10.047).
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We previously detailed how intrahippocampal inoculation of C57BL/6J mice with murine modified scrapie (ME7) leads to chronic neurodegeneration (Cunningham C, Deacon R, Wells H, Boche D, Waters S, Diniz CP, Scott H, Rawlins JN, Perry VH (2003) Eur J Neurosci 17:2147–2155.). Our characterization of the ME7-model is based on inoculation of this murine modified scrapie agent into C57BL/6J mice from Harlan laboratories. This agent in the C57BL/6J host generates a disease that spans a 24-week time course. The hippocampal pathology shows progressive misfolded prion (PrPSc) deposition, astrogliosis and leads to behavioural dysfunction underpinned by the early synaptic loss that precedes neuronal death. The Harlan C57BL/6J, although widely used as a wild type mouse, are a sub-strain harbouring a spontaneous deletion of ?-synuclein with the full description C57BL/6JOlaHsd. Recently ?-synuclein has been shown to ameliorate the synaptic loss in a mouse model lacking the synaptic chaperone CSP-?. This opens a potential confound of the ME7-model, particularly with respect to the signature synaptic loss that underpin the physiological and behavioural dysfunction. To investigate if this strain-selective loss of a candidate disease modifier impacts on signature ME7 pathology, we compared cohorts of C57BL/6JOlaHsd (?-synuclein negative) with the founder strain from Charles Rivers (C57BL/6JCrl, ?-synuclein positive). There were subtle changes in behaviour when comparing control animals from the two sub-strains indicating potentially significant consequences for studies assuming neurobiogical identity of both strains. However, there was no evidence that the absence of ?-synuclein modifies disease. Indeed, accumulation of PrPSc, synaptic loss and the behavioural dysfunction associated with the ME7-agent was the same in both genetic backgrounds. Our data suggest that ?-synuclein deficiency does not contribute to the compartment specific processes that give rise to prion disease mediated synaptotoxicity and neurodegeneration.
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