Progressive white matter pathology in the spinal cord of transgenic mice expressing mutant (P301L) human tau.
ABSTRACT Transgenic mice expressing mutant (P301L) tau develop paresis, neurofibrillary tangles and neuronal loss in spinal motor neurons beginning at 4 to 6 months of age. Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes acquire filamentous tau inclusions at later ages. Here we report pathology in the spinal white matter of these animals. Progressive white matter pathology, detected as early as 2 months of age, was most marked in lateral and anterior columns, with sparing of posterior columns until late in the disease. Early changes in Luxol fast blue/periodic acid Schiff (LFB/PAS) and toluidine blue stained sections were vacuolation of myelin followed by accumulation of myelin figures within previous axonal tubes and finally influx of PAS-positive macrophages. Myelin debris and vacuoles were found in macrophages. At the ultrastructural level, myelinated axons showed extensive vacuolation of myelin sheaths formed by splitting of myelin lamellae at the intra-period line, while axons were atrophic and contained densely packed neurofilaments. Other axons were lost completely, resulting in collapse and phagocytosis of myelin sheaths. Also present were spheroids derived from swollen axons with thin myelin sheaths containing neurofilaments, tau filaments and degenerating organelles. Many oligodendrocytes had membrane-bound cytoplasmic bodies composed of tightly stacked lamellae capped by dense material. The vacuolar myelopathy in this model to some extent resembles that reported in acquired immune deficiency syndrome and vitamin B12 deficiency. The progressive axonal pathology is most consistent with a dying-back process caused by abnormal accumulation of tau in upstream neurons, while vacuolar myelinopathy may be a secondary manifestation of neuroinflammation.
- SourceAvailable from: Marcelo Febo[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Elevated expression of human hyperphosphorylated tau is associated with neuronal loss and white matter (WM) pathology in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative disorders. Using in vivo diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) at 11.1 Tesla we measured age-related alterations in WM diffusion anisotropy indices in a mouse model of human tauopathy (rTg4510) and nontransgenic (nonTg) control mice at the age of 2.5, 4.5, and 8 months. Similar to previous DT-MRI studies in AD subjects, 8-month-old rTg4510 mice showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) values in WM structures than nonTg. The low WM FA in rTg4510 mice was observed in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, fimbria, and internal capsule and was associated with a higher radial diffusivity than nonTg. Interestingly, rTg4510 mice showed lower estimates for the mode of anisotropy than controls at 2.5 months suggesting that changes in this diffusivity metric are detectable at an early stage preceding severe tauopathy. Immunogold electron microscopy partly supports our diffusion tensor imaging findings. At the age of 4 months, rTg4510 mice show axonal tau inclusions and unmyelinated processes. At later ages (12 months and 14 months) we observed inclusions in myelin sheath, axons, and unmyelinated processes, and a "disorganized" pattern of myelinated fiber arrangement with enlarged inter-axonal spaces in rTg4510 but not in nonTg mice. Our data support a role for the progression of tau pathology in reduced WM integrity measured by DT-MRI. Further in vivo DT-MRI studies in the rTg4510 mouse should help better discern the detailed mechanisms of reduced FA and anisotropy mode, and the specific role of tau during neurodegeneration.Neurobiology of aging 12/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Intracellular inclusions composed of hyperphosphorylated filamentous tau are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, Pick's disease and other sporadic neurodegenerative tauopathies. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that tau aggregates do not only seed further tau aggregation within neurons, but can also spread to neighbouring cells and functionally connected brain regions. This process is referred to as 'tau propagation' and may explain the stereotypic progression of tau pathology in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. Here, we describe a novel in vivo model of tau propagation using human P301S tau transgenic mice infused unilaterally with brain extract containing tau aggregates. Infusion-related neurofibrillary tangle pathology was first observed 2 weeks post-infusion and increased in a stereotypic, time-dependent manner. Contralateral and anterior/posterior spread of tau pathology was also evident in nuclei with strong synaptic connections (efferent and afferent) to the site of infusion, indicating that spread was dependent on synaptic connectivity rather than spatial proximity. This notion was further supported by infusion-related tau pathology in white matter tracts that interconnect these regions. The rapid and robust propagation of tau pathology in this model will be valuable for both basic research and the drug discovery process.Acta Neuropathologica 02/2014; · 9.73 Impact Factor
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