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Exp Neurol. 2003 Nov;184(1):214-24.

Age-dependent synuclein pathology following traumatic brain injury in mice.

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The Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Synucleins (Syn), a family of synaptic proteins, includes alpha-Syn, which plays a pivotal role in Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative diseases (synucleinopathies) by forming distinct brain pathologies (Lewy bodies and neurites). Since traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a poorly understood risk factor for Parkinson's disease, we examined the effects of TBI in the young and aged mouse brain on alpha-, beta-, and gamma-Syn. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that brains from sham-injured young and aged mice had normal alpha- and beta-Syn immunoreactivity (IR) in neuropil of cortex, striatum, and hippocampus with little or no gamma-Syn IR. At 1 week post TBI, the aged mouse brain showed a transient increase of alpha- and beta-Syn IR in the neuropil as well as an induction of gamma-Syn IR in subcortical axons. This was associated with strong labeling of striatal axon bundles by antibodies to altered or nitrated epitopes in alpha-Syn as well as by antibodies to inducible nitric oxide synthase. However, these TBI-induced changes disappeared by 16 weeks post TBI, and altered Syn IR was not seen in young mice subjected to TBI nor in alpha-Syn knockout mice while Western blots confirmed that TBI induced transient alterations of alpha-Syn in the mouse brains. This model of age-dependent TBI-induced transient alterations in alpha-Syn provides an opportunity to examine possible links between TBI and mechanisms of disease in synucleinopathies.

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