Experimental neurology

Behavioural deficits in transgenic mice expressing human truncated (1-120 amino acid) alpha-synuclein.

PMID 25450466


Accumulation and aggregation of alpha-synuclein in cortical and hippocampal areas is a pathological sign for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia. However the mechanisms of alpha-synuclein triggered cellular dysfunction leading to the development of memory impairment is not clear. We have created a mouse model of DLB, where aggregation-prone human truncated (120 amino acid) alpha-synuclein is expressed in forebrain areas under the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha (CamKII-alpha) promoter. We have observed the presence of the transgenic protein in target forebrain areas, with small granular cytoplasmic accumulation of aggregated alpha-synuclein. This was associated with a progressive deficit in cortical-hippocampal memory tests including the Barnes maze and novel object recognition. This data suggests that low levels of aggregation prone alpha-synuclein are sufficient to induce memory deficits in mice and that forebrain regions associated with cognitive function may have an increased sensitivity to the truncated toxic form of alpha-synuclein.