Progressive Motor Deficit is Mediated by the Denervation of Neuromuscular Junctions and Axonal Degeneration in Transgenic Mice Expressing Mutant (P301S) Tau Protein

Zhuoran Yin, Femke Valkenburg, Betty E Hornix, Ietje Mantingh-Otter, Xingdong Zhou, Muriel Mari, Fulvio Reggiori, Debby Van Dam, Bart J L Eggen, Peter P De Deyn, Erik Boddeke*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

16 Citaten (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


Tauopathies include a variety of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the pathological aggregation of hyperphosphorylated tau, resulting in progressive cognitive decline and motor impairment. The underlying mechanism for motor deficits related to tauopathy is not yet fully understood. Here, we use a novel transgenic tau mouse line, Tau 58/4, with enhanced neuron-specific expression of P301S mutant tau to investigate the motor abnormalities in association with the peripheral nervous system. Using stationary beam, gait, and rotarod tests, motor deficits were found in Tau 58/4 mice already 3 months after birth, which deteriorated during aging. Hyperphosphorylated tau was detected in the cell bodies and axons of motor neurons. At the age of 9 and 12 months, significant denervation of the neuromuscular junction in the extensor digitorum longus muscle was observed in Tau 58/4 mice, compared to wild-type mice. Muscle hypotrophy was observed in Tau 58/4 mice at 9 and 12 months. Using electron microscopy, we observed ultrastructural changes in the sciatic nerve of 12-month-old Tau 58/4 mice indicative of the loss of large axonal fibers and hypomyelination (assessed by g-ratio). We conclude that the accumulated hyperphosphorylated tau in the axon terminals may induce dying-back axonal degeneration, myelin abnormalities, neuromuscular junction denervation, and muscular atrophy, which may be the mechanisms responsible for the deterioration of the motor function in Tau 58/4 mice. Tau 58/4 mice represent an interesting neuromuscular degeneration model, and the pathological mechanisms might be responsible for motor signs observed in some human tauopathies.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)S41-S57
Aantal pagina's17
TijdschriftJournal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Nummer van het tijdschrifts1
StatusPublished - 2017

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