Misfolded alpha-synuclein (αS) may exhibit a number of characteristics similar to those of the prion protein, including the apparent ability to spread along neuroanatomical connections. The demonstration for this mechanism of spread is largely based on the intracerebral injections of preaggregated αS seeds in mice, in which it cannot be excluded that diffuse, surgical perturbations and hematogenous spread also contribute to the propagation of pathology. For this reason, we have utilized the sciatic nerve as a route of injection to force the inoculum into the lumbar spinal cord and induce a localized site for the onset of αS inclusion pathology. Our results demonstrate that mouse αS fibrils (fibs) injected unilaterally in the sciatic nerve are efficient in inducing pathology and the onset of paralytic symptoms in both the M83 and M20 lines of αS transgenic mice. In addition, a spatiotemporal study of these injections revealed a predictable spread of pathology to brain regions whose axons synapse directly on ventral motor neurons in the spinal cord, strongly supporting axonal transport as a mechanism of spread of the αS inducing, or seeding, factor. We also revealed a relatively decreased efficiency for human αS fibs containing the E46K mutation to induce disease via this injection paradigm, supportive of recent studies demonstrating a diminished ability of this mutant αS to undergo aggregate induction. These results further demonstrate prion-like properties for αS by the ability for a progression and spread of αS inclusion pathology along neuroanatomical connections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science