Parkinson's disease (PD), the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder, is characterized by dopaminergic nigrostriatal neuron loss and brain accumulation of Lewy bodies, protein aggregates mainly composed of α-synuclein. We reported that mice deficient for NF-κB/c-Rel (c-rel-/-) develop a late-onset parkinsonism. At 18 months of age, c-rel-/- mice showed nigrostriatal degeneration and accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates associated with a motor impairment responsive to L-DOPA administration. Being c-Rel protein a transcriptional regulator for mitochondrial anti-oxidant and antiapoptotic factors, it has been inferred that its deficiency may affect the resilience of "energy demanding" nigral dopaminergic neurons to the aging process. PD patients manifest a prodromal syndrome that includes olfactory and gastrointestinal dysfunctions years before the frank degeneration of nigrostriatal neurons and appearance of motor symptoms. According to the Braak staging, the onset of non-motor and motor symptoms relates to progressive ascendant diffusion of α-synuclein pathology in the brain. The aim of this study was to identify whether c-rel-/- deficiency is associated with the onset of premotor signs of PD and spatio-temporal progression of cerebral α-synuclein deposition.
Parrella, Edoardo;Bellucci, Arianna
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