Age-appropriate cognition and subtle dopamine-independent motor deficits in aged Tau knockout mice.
ABSTRACT The microtubule-associated protein tau is expressed throughout the nervous system, most highly in neurons but also in glial cells. Its functions in adult and aging mammals remain to be defined. Previous studies in mouse models found either protective or detrimental effects of genetic tau ablation. Though tau ablation prevented synaptic, network, and cognitive dysfunctions in several models of Alzheimer's disease and made mice more resistant to epileptic seizures, a recent study described a parkinsonian phenotype in aging Tau knockout mice. Here we tested cognition and motor functions in Tau(+/+), Tau(+/-), and Tau(-/-) mice at approximately 1 and 2 years of age. Tau ablation did not impair cognition and caused only minor motor deficits that were much more subtle than those associated with the aging process. Tau ablation caused a mild increase in body weight, which correlated with and might have contributed to some of the motor deficits. However, tau ablation did not cause significant dopaminergic impairments, and dopamine treatment did not improve the motor deficits, suggesting that they do not reflect extrapyramidal dysfunction.
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ABSTRACT: Suppression of tau protein expression has been shown to improve behavioral deficits in mouse models of tauopathies, offering an attractive therapeutic approach. Experimentally this had been achieved by switching off the promoters controlling the transgenic human tau gene (MAPT), which is not possible in human patients. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the effectiveness of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and their cerebral delivery to suppress human tau expression in vivo, which might be a therapeutic option for human tauopathies. We used primary cortical neurons of transgenic mice expressing P301S-mutated human tau and Lund human mesencephalic (LUHMES) cells to validate the suppressive effect of siRNA in vitro. For measuring the effect in vivo, we stereotactically injected siRNA into the brains of P301S mice to reveal the suppression of tau by immunochemistry (AT180, MC1, and CP13 antibodies). We found that the Accell™ SMART pool siRNA against MAPT can effectively suppress tau expression in vitro and in vivo without a specific delivery agent. The siRNA showed a moderate distribution in the hippocampus of mice after single injection. NeuN, GFAP, Iba-1, MHC II immunoreactivities and the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed neither signs of neurotoxicity or neuroinflammation nor apoptosis when MAPT siRNA is present in the hippocampus. Our data suggest that siRNA against MAPT can serve as a potential tool for gene therapy in tauopathies.Current Gene Therapy 10/2014; 14(5). · 4.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates is the hallmark of Parkinson's disease, and more generally of synucleinopathies. The accumulation of tau aggregates however is classically found in the brains of patients with dementia, and this type of neuropathological feature specifically defines the tauopathies. Nevertheless, in numerous cases alpha-synuclein positive inclusions are also described in tauopathies and vice versa, suggesting a co-existence or crosstalk of these proteinopathies. Interestingly, alpha-synuclein and tau share striking common characteristics suggesting that they may work in concord. Tau and alpha-synuclein are both partially unfolded proteins that can form toxic oligomers and abnormal intracellular aggregates under pathological conditions. Furthermore, mutations in either are responsible for severe dominant familial neurodegeneration. Moreover, tau and alpha-synuclein appear to promote the fibrillization and solubility of each other in vitro and in vivo. This suggests that interactions between tau and alpha-synuclein form a deleterious feed-forward loop essential for the development and spreading of neurodegeneration. Here, we review the recent literature with respect to elucidating the possible links between alpha-synuclein and tau.Molecular Neurodegeneration 10/2014; 9(1):43. · 5.29 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Because reduction of the microtubule-associated protein Tau has beneficial effects in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy, we wanted to determine whether this strategy can also improve the outcome of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). We adapted a mild frontal impact model of TBI for wildtype C57Bl/6J mice and characterized the behavioral deficits it causes in these animals. The Barnes maze, Y maze, contextual and cued fear conditioning, elevated plus maze, open field, balance beam, and forced swim test were used to assess different behavioral functions. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, 7 Tesla) and histological analysis of brain sections were used to look for neuropathological alterations. We also compared the functional effects of this TBI model and of controlled cortical impact in mice with two, one or no Tau alleles. Repeated (2-hit), but not single (1-hit), mild frontal impact impaired spatial learning and memory in wildtype mice as determined by testing of mice in the Barnes maze one month after the injury. Locomotor activity, anxiety, depression and fear related behaviors did not differ between injured and sham-injured mice. MRI imaging did not reveal focal injury or mass lesions shortly after the injury. Complete ablation or partial reduction of tau prevented deficits in spatial learning and memory after repeated mild frontal impact. Complete tau ablation also showed a trend towards protection after a single controlled cortical impact. Complete or partial reduction of tau also reduced the level of axonopathy in the corpus callosum after repeated mild frontal impact. Tau promotes or enables the development of learning and memory deficits and of axonopathy after mild TBI, and tau reduction counteracts these adverse effects.PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e115765. · 3.53 Impact Factor