Age-related Purkinje cell death is steroid dependent: ROR alpha haplo-insufficiency impairs plasma and cerebellar steroids and Purkinje cell survival

Sonja Janmaat, Yvette Akwa, Mohamed Doulazmi, Joelle Bakouche, Vanessa Gautheron, Philippe Liere, Bernard Eychenne, Antoine Pianos, Paul Luiten, Ton Groothuis, Etienne-Emile Baulieu, Jean Mariani, Rachel M. Sherrard*, Florence Frederic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

A major problem of ageing is progressive impairment of neuronal function and ultimately cell death. Since sex steroids are neuroprotective, their decrease with age may underlie age-related neuronal degeneration. To test this, we examined Purkinje cell numbers, plasma sex steroids and cerebellar neurosteroid concentrations during normal ageing (wild-type mice, WT), in our model of precocious ageing (Rora (+/sg) , heterozygous staggerer mice in which expression of the neuroprotective factor ROR alpha is disrupted) and after long-term hormone insufficiency (WT post-gonadectomy). During normal ageing (WT), circulating sex steroids declined prior to or in parallel with Purkinje cell loss, which began at 18 months of age. Although Purkinje cell death was advanced in WT long-term steroid deficiency, this premature neuronal loss did not begin until 9 months, indicating that vulnerability to sex steroid deficiency is a phenomenon of ageing Purkinje neurons. In precocious ageing (Rora (+/sg) ), circulating sex steroids decreased prematurely, in conjunction with marked Purkinje cell death from 9 months. Although Rora (+/sg) Purkinje cells are vulnerable through their ROR alpha haplo-insufficiency, it is only as they age (after 9 months) that sex steroid failure becomes critical. Finally, cerebellar neurosteroids did not decrease with age in either genotype or gender; but were profoundly reduced by 3 months in male Rora (+/sg) cerebella, which may contribute to the fragility of their Purkinje neurons. These data suggest that ageing Purkinje cells are maintained by circulating sex steroids, rather than local neurosteroids, and that in Rora (+/sg) their age-related death is advanced by premature sex steroid loss induced by ROR alpha haplo-insufficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-578
Number of pages14
JournalAGE
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2011

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • ROR alpha
  • Cerebellum
  • Purkinje cells
  • Sex steroid hormones
  • Neurosteroids
  • ORPHAN RECEPTOR-ALPHA
  • NERVE GROWTH-FACTOR
  • NEUROTROPHIC FACTOR
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • SEX STEROIDS
  • PROGESTERONE NEUROPROTECTION
  • MULTIPLE-SCLEROSIS
  • NUCLEAR RECEPTORS
  • DENDRITIC GROWTH
  • GENE-EXPRESSION

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