Progression of motor neuron disease is accelerated and the ability to recover is compromised with advanced age in rNLS8 mice

TitleProgression of motor neuron disease is accelerated and the ability to recover is compromised with advanced age in rNLS8 mice
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSpiller, Krista J., Clark R. Restrepo, Tahiyana Khan, Anna M. Stieber, Linda K. Kwong, John Q. Trojanowski, and Virginia M. - Y. Lee
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Type of Articlejournal article
ISBN Number2051-5960
Accession NumberPMID: 27687289
AbstractIn order to treat progressive paralysis in ALS patients, it is critical to develop a mouse that closely models human ALS in both pathology and also in the timing of these events. We have recently generated new TDP-43 bigenic mice (called rNLS8) with doxycycline (Dox)-suppressible expression of human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) harboring a defective nuclear localization signal (hTDP-43∆NLS) under the control of the NEFH promoter. Our previous studies characterized the pathology and disease course in young rNLS8 mice following induction of neuronal hTDP-43ΔNLS. We now seek to examine if the order and timing of pathologic events are changed in aged mice. We found that the expression of hTDP-43∆NLS in 12+ month old mice did not accelerate the appearance of neuromuscular abnormalities or motor neuron (MN) death in the lumbar spinal cord (SC), though disease progression was accelerated. However, following suppression of the transgene, important differences between young and aged rNLS8 mice emerged in functional motor recovery. We found that recovery was incomplete in aged mice relative to their younger treatment matched counterparts based on gross behavioral measures and physiological recordings from the animals’ gastrocnemius (GC) muscles, despite muscle reinnervation by surviving MNs. This is likely because the reinnervation most often only resulted in partial nerve and endplate connections and the muscle’s junctional folds were much more disorganized in aged rNLS8 mice. We believe that these studies will be an important basis for the future design and evaluation of therapies designed to slow denervation and promote re-innervation in adult ALS patients.