Disease models & mechanisms

A high-fat jelly diet restores bioenergetic balance and extends lifespan in the presence of motor dysfunction and lumbar spinal cord motor neuron loss in TDP-43A315T mutant C57BL6/J mice.

PMID 27491077


Transgenic transactivation response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) mice expressing the A315T mutation under control of the murine prion promoter progressively develop motor function deficits and are considered a new model for the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); however, premature sudden death resulting from intestinal obstruction halts disease phenotype progression in 100% of C57BL6/J congenic TDP-43(A315T) mice. Similar to our recent results in SOD1(G93A) mice, TDP-43(A315T) mice fed a standard pellet diet showed increased 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation at postnatal day (P)80, indicating elevated energetic stress during disease progression. We therefore investigated the effects of a high-fat jelly diet on bioenergetic status and lifespan in TDP-43(A315T) mice. In contrast to standard pellet-fed mice, mice fed high-fat jelly showed no difference in AMPK activation up to P120 and decreased phosphorylation of acetly-CoA carboxylase (ACC) at early-stage time points. Exposure to a high-fat jelly diet prevented sudden death and extended survival, allowing development of a motor neuron disease phenotype with significantly decreased body weight from P80 onward that was characterised by deficits in Rotarod abilities and stride length measurements. Development of this phenotype was associated with a significant motor neuron loss as assessed by Nissl staining in the lumbar spinal cord. Our work suggests that a high-fat jelly diet improves the pre-clinical utility of the TDP-43(A315T) model by extending lifespan and allowing the motor neuron disease phenotype to progress, and indicates the potential benefit of this diet in TDP-43-associated ALS.