Synergistic Interactions between Abeta, tau, and alpha-synuclein: acceleration of neuropathology and cognitive decline

Lani K Clinton, Mathew Blurton-Jones, Kristoffer Myczek, John Q Trojanowski, Frank M LaFerla
Journal of Neuroscience 2010 May 26, 30 (21): 7281-9
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most prevalent age-related neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized pathologically by the accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques and tau-laden neurofibrillary tangles. Interestingly, up to 50% of AD cases exhibit a third prevalent neuropathology: the aggregation of alpha-synuclein into Lewy bodies. Importantly, the presence of Lewy body pathology in AD is associated with a more aggressive disease course and accelerated cognitive dysfunction. Thus, Abeta, tau, and alpha-synuclein may interact synergistically to promote the accumulation of each other. In this study, we used a genetic approach to generate a model that exhibits the combined pathologies of AD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). To achieve this goal, we introduced a mutant human alpha-synuclein transgene into 3xTg-AD mice. As occurs in human disease, transgenic mice that develop both DLB and AD pathologies (DLB-AD mice) exhibit accelerated cognitive decline associated with a dramatic enhancement of Abeta, tau, and alpha-synuclein pathologies. Our findings also provide additional evidence that the accumulation of alpha-synuclein alone can significantly disrupt cognition. Together, our data support the notion that Abeta, tau, and alpha-synuclein interact in vivo to promote the aggregation and accumulation of each other and accelerate cognitive dysfunction.

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