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Neurobiol Dis. 2012 Jul;47(1):61-74. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.03.024. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Generation of a novel rodent model for DYT1 dystonia.

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Dept. of Medical Genetics, University of Tuebingen, Germany.


A mutation in the coding region of the Tor1A gene, resulting in a deletion of a glutamic acid residue in the torsinA protein (∆ETorA), is the major cause of the inherited autosomal-dominant early onset torsion dystonia (DYT1). The pathophysiological consequences of this amino acid loss are still not understood. Currently available animal models for DYT1 dystonia provided important insights into the disease; however, they differ with respect to key features of torsinA associated pathology. We developed transgenic rat models harboring the full length human mutant and wildtype Tor1A gene. A complex phenotyping approach including classical behavioral tests, electrophysiology and neuropathology revealed a progressive neurological phenotype in ∆ETorA expressing rats. Furthermore, we were able to replicate key pathological features of torsinA associated pathology in a second species, such as nuclear envelope pathology, behavioral abnormalities and plasticity changes. We therefore suggest that this rat model represents an appropriate new model suitable to further investigate the pathophysiology of ∆ETorA and to test for therapeutic approaches.

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