Brain injections of glial cytoplasmic inclusions induce a multiple system atrophy-like pathology

Margaux Teil, Sandra Dovero, Mathieu Bourdenx, Marie-Laure Arotcarena, Sandrine Camus, Gregory Porras, Marie-Laure Thiolat, Ines Trigo-Damas, Celine Perier, Cristina Estrada, Nuria Garcia-Carrillo, Michele Morari, Wassilios G Meissner, María Trinidad Herrero, Miquel Vila, Jose A Obeso, Erwan Bezard, Benjamin Dehay
Brain. 2022-03-14; 145(3): 1001-1017
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awab374

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Synucleinopathies encompass several neurodegenerative diseases, which include Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. These diseases are characterized by the deposit of α-synuclein aggregates in intracellular inclusions in neurons and glial cells. Unlike Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, where aggregates are predominantly neuronal, multiple system atrophy is associated with α-synuclein cytoplasmic inclusions in oligodendrocytes. Glial cytoplasmic inclusions are the pathological hallmark of multiple system atrophy and are associated with neuroinflammation, modest demyelination and, ultimately, neurodegeneration.
To evaluate the possible pathogenic role of glial cytoplasmic inclusions, we inoculated glial cytoplasmic inclusion-containing brain fractions obtained from multiple system atrophy patients into the striatum of non-human primates. After a 2-year in vivo phase, extensive histochemical and biochemical analyses were performed on the whole brain.
We found loss of both nigral dopamine neurons and striatal medium spiny neurons, as well as loss of oligodendrocytes in the same regions, which are characteristics of multiple system atrophy. Furthermore, demyelination, neuroinflammation and α-synuclein pathology were also observed. These results show that the α-synuclein species in multiple system atrophy-derived glial cytoplasmic inclusions can induce a pathological process in non-human primates, including nigrostriatal and striatofugal neurodegeneration, oligodendroglial cell loss, synucleinopathy and gliosis.
The present data pave the way for using this experimental model for MSA research and therapeutic development.

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