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PLoS One. 2018 May 22;13(5):e0197674. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197674. eCollection 2018.

mTh1 driven expression of hTDP-43 results in typical ALS/FTLD neuropathological symptoms.

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QPS Austria GmbH, Grambach, Austria.
Karl-Franzens University, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Graz, Austria.
Medical University Graz, Institute of Pathophysiology and Immunology, Graz, Austria.


Transgenic mouse models are indispensable tools to mimic human diseases and analyze the effectiveness of related new drugs. For a long time amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research depended on only a few mouse models that exhibit a very strong and early phenotype, e.g. SOD1 mice, resulting in a short treatment time window. By now, several models are available that need to be characterized to highlight characteristics of each model. Here we further characterized the mThy1-hTDP-43 transgenic mouse model TAR6/6 that overexpresses wild type human TARDBP, also called TDP-43, under control of the neuronal Thy-1 promoter presented by Wils and colleagues, 2010, by using biochemical, histological and behavioral readouts. Our results show that TAR6/6 mice exhibit a strong TDP-43 expression in the hippocampus, spinal cord, hypothalamus and medulla oblongata. Apart from prominent protein expression in the nucleus, TDP-43 protein was found at lower levels in the cytosol of transgenic mice. Additionally, we detected insoluble TDP-43 in the cortex, motoneuron loss, and increased neuroinflammation in the central nervous system of TAR6/6 animals. Behavioral analyses revealed early motor deficits in the clasping- and wire suspension test as well as decreased anxiety in the elevated plus maze. Further motor tests showed differences at later time points compared to non-transgenic littermates, thus allowing the observation of onset and severity of such deficits. Together, TAR6/6 mice are a valuable tool to test new ALS/FTLD drugs that target TDP-43 expression and insolubility, neuroinflammation, motoneuron loss or other TDP-43 related downstream signaling pathways since these mice exhibit a later pathology as previously used ALS/FTLD mouse models.

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