Truncated tau from sporadic Alzheimer's disease suffices to drive neurofibrillary degeneration in vivo.
ABSTRACT Truncated tau protein is the characteristic feature of human sporadic Alzheimer's disease. We have identified truncated tau proteins conformationally different from normal healthy tau. Subpopulations of these structurally different tau species promoted abnormal microtubule assembly in vitro suggesting toxic gain of function. To validate pathological activity in vivo we expressed active form of human truncated tau protein as transgene, in the rat brain. Its neuronal expression led to the development of the neurofibrillary degeneration of Alzheimer's type. Furthermore, biochemical analysis of neurofibrillary changes revealed that massive sarcosyl insoluble tau complexes consisted of human Alzheimer's tau and endogenous rat tau in ratio 1:1 including characteristic Alzheimer's disease (AD)-specific proteins (A68). This work represents first insight into the possible causative role of truncated tau in AD neurofibrillary degeneration in vivo.
Article: Corticotropin-releasing factor receptor-dependent effects of repeated stress on tau phosphorylation, solubility, and aggregation.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Exposure and/or sensitivity to stress have been implicated as conferring risk for development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although the basis for such a link remains unclear, we previously reported differential involvement of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor (CRFR) 1 and 2 in acute stress-induced tau phosphorylation (tau-P) and solubility in the hippocampus. Here we examined the role of CRFRs in tau-P induced by repeated stress and the structural manifestations of altered tau solubility. Robust tau-P responses were seen in WT and CRFR2 null mice exposed to repeated stress, which were sustained at even 24 h after the final stress exposure. A portion of phosphorylated tau in these mice was sequestered in detergent-soluble cellular fractions. In contrast, CRFR1 and CRFR double-KO mice did not exhibit repeated stress-induced alterations in tau-P or solubility. Similarly, treatment with CRFR1 antagonist attenuated repeated stress-induced tau-P. Using histochemical approaches in a transgenic CRFR1 reporter mouse line, we found substantial overlap between hippocampal CRFR1 expression and cells positive for phosphorylated tau after exposure to repeated stress. Ultrastructural analysis of negatively stained extracts from WT and CRFR2 null mice identified globular aggregates that displayed positive immunogold labeling for tau-P, as well as conformational changes in tau (MC1) seen in early AD. Given that repeated stress exposure results in chronic increases in hippocampal tau-P and its sequestration in an insoluble (and potentially prepathogenic) form, our data may define a link between stress and an AD-related pathogenic mechanism.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2012; 109(16):6277-82. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Article: Who fans the flames of Alzheimer's disease brains? Misfolded tau on the crossroad of neurodegenerative and inflammatory pathways.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Neurodegeneration, induced by misfolded tau protein, and neuroinflammation, driven by glial cells, represent the salient features of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related human tauopathies. While tau neurodegeneration significantly correlates with disease progression, brain inflammation seems to be an important factor in regulating the resistance or susceptibility to AD neurodegeneration. Previously, it has been shown that there is a reciprocal relationship between the local inflammatory response and neurofibrillary lesions. Numerous independent studies have reported that inflammatory responses may contribute to the development of tau pathology and thus accelerate the course of disease. It has been shown that various cytokines can significantly affect the functional and structural properties of intracellular tau. Notwithstanding, anti-inflammatory approaches have not unequivocally demonstrated that inhibition of the brain immune response can lead to reduction of neurofibrillary lesions. On the other hand, our recent data show that misfolded tau could represent a trigger for microglial activation, suggesting the dual role of misfolded tau in the Alzheimer's disease inflammatory cascade. On the basis of current knowledge, we can conclude that misfolded tau is located at the crossroad of the neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory pathways. Thus disease-modified tau represents an important target for potential therapeutic strategies for patients with Alzheimer's disease.Journal of Neuroinflammation 03/2012; 9:47. · 3.83 Impact Factor
Article: Adult-onset focal expression of mutated human tau in the hippocampus impairs spatial working memory of rats.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Tauopathy in the hippocampus is one of the earliest cardinal features of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a condition characterized by progressive memory impairments. In fact, density of tau neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the hippocampus strongly correlates with severity of cognitive impairments in AD. In the present study, we employed a somatic cell gene transfer technique to create a rodent model of tauopathy by injecting a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector with a mutated human tau gene (P301L) into the hippocampus of adult rats. The P301L mutation is causal for frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism-17 (FTDP-17), but it has been used for studying memory effects characteristic of AD in transgenic mice. To ascertain if P301L-induced mnemonic deficits are persistent, animals were tested for 6 months. It was hypothesized that adult-onset, spatially restricted tau expression in the hippocampus would produce progressive spatial working memory deficits on a learned alternation task. Rats injected with the tau vector exhibited persistent impairments on the hippocampal-dependent task beginning at about 6 weeks post-transduction compared to rats injected with a green fluorescent protein vector. Histological analysis of brains for expression of human tau revealed hyperphosphorylated human tau and NFTs in the hippocampus in experimental animals only. Thus, adult-onset, vector-induced tauopathy spatially restricted to the hippocampus progressively impaired spatial working memory in rats. We conclude that the model faithfully reproduces histological and behavioral findings characteristic of dementing tauopathies. The rapid onset of sustained memory impairment establishes a preclinical model particularly suited to the development of potential tauopathy therapeutics.Behavioural brain research 04/2012; 233(1):141-8. · 3.22 Impact Factor