Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex pathology causing a plethora of non-motor symptoms besides classical motor impairments, including cognitive disturbances. Recent studies in the PD human brain have reported microgliosis in limbic and neocortical structures, suggesting a role for neuroinflammation in the development of cognitive decline. Yet, the mechanism underlying the cognitive pathology is under investigated, mainly for the lack of a valid preclinical neuropathological model reproducing the disease’s motor and non-motor aspects. Here, we show that the bilateral intracerebral infusion of pre-formed human alpha synuclein oligomers (H-αSynOs) within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) offers a valid model for studying the cognitive symptoms of PD, which adds to the classical motor aspects previously described in the same model. Indeed, H-αSynOs-infused rats displayed memory deficits in the two-trial recognition task in a Y maze and the novel object recognition (NOR) test performed three months after the oligomer infusion. In the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of H-αSynOs-infused rats the in vivo electrophysiological activity was altered and the expression of the neuron-specific immediate early gene (IEG) Npas4 (Neuronal PAS domain protein 4) and the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 were decreased. The histological analysis of the brain of cognitively impaired rats showed a neuroinflammatory response in cognition-related regions such as the ACC and discrete subareas of the hippocampus, in the absence of any evident neuronal loss, supporting a role of neuroinflammation in cognitive decline. We found an increased GFAP reactivity and the acquisition of a proinflammatory phenotype by microglia, as indicated by the increased levels of microglial Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α) as compared to vehicle-infused rats. Moreover, diffused deposits of phospho-alpha synuclein (p-αSyn) and Lewy neurite-like aggregates were found in the SNpc and striatum, suggesting the spreading of toxic protein within anatomically interconnected areas. Altogether, we present a neuropathological rat model of PD that is relevant for the study of cognitive dysfunction featuring the disease. The intranigral infusion of toxic oligomeric species of alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) induced spreading and neuroinflammation in distant cognition-relevant regions, which may drive the altered neuronal activity underlying cognitive deficits

The Intranigral Infusion of Human-Alpha Synuclein Oligomers Induces a Cognitive Impairment in Rats Associated with Changes in Neuronal Firing and Neuroinflammation in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Palmas, Maria Francesca
Primo
;
Etzi, Michela
Secondo
;
Camoglio, Chiara;Sagheddu, Claudia;Santoni, Michele;Pala, Mauro;Picci, Luca;Mulas, Giovanna;Spiga, Saturnino;Scherma, Maria;Fadda, Paola;Pistis, Marco;Simola, Nicola;Carboni, Ezio;Carta, Anna R.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex pathology causing a plethora of non-motor symptoms besides classical motor impairments, including cognitive disturbances. Recent studies in the PD human brain have reported microgliosis in limbic and neocortical structures, suggesting a role for neuroinflammation in the development of cognitive decline. Yet, the mechanism underlying the cognitive pathology is under investigated, mainly for the lack of a valid preclinical neuropathological model reproducing the disease’s motor and non-motor aspects. Here, we show that the bilateral intracerebral infusion of pre-formed human alpha synuclein oligomers (H-αSynOs) within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) offers a valid model for studying the cognitive symptoms of PD, which adds to the classical motor aspects previously described in the same model. Indeed, H-αSynOs-infused rats displayed memory deficits in the two-trial recognition task in a Y maze and the novel object recognition (NOR) test performed three months after the oligomer infusion. In the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of H-αSynOs-infused rats the in vivo electrophysiological activity was altered and the expression of the neuron-specific immediate early gene (IEG) Npas4 (Neuronal PAS domain protein 4) and the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 were decreased. The histological analysis of the brain of cognitively impaired rats showed a neuroinflammatory response in cognition-related regions such as the ACC and discrete subareas of the hippocampus, in the absence of any evident neuronal loss, supporting a role of neuroinflammation in cognitive decline. We found an increased GFAP reactivity and the acquisition of a proinflammatory phenotype by microglia, as indicated by the increased levels of microglial Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α) as compared to vehicle-infused rats. Moreover, diffused deposits of phospho-alpha synuclein (p-αSyn) and Lewy neurite-like aggregates were found in the SNpc and striatum, suggesting the spreading of toxic protein within anatomically interconnected areas. Altogether, we present a neuropathological rat model of PD that is relevant for the study of cognitive dysfunction featuring the disease. The intranigral infusion of toxic oligomeric species of alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) induced spreading and neuroinflammation in distant cognition-relevant regions, which may drive the altered neuronal activity underlying cognitive deficits
Parkinson’s disease; cognitive impairment; neuroinflammation; -synuclein; neuronal activity; microglia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/343675
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