ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0173.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: γ-synuclein; AAV vector; antisense oligonucleotide; cognitive dysfunction; dopamine; motor deficits
Online: 12 January 2022 (14:27:18 CET)
The synuclein family consists of α-, β-, and γ-Synuclein (α-Syn, β-Syn, and γ-Syn), expressed in the neurons and concentrated in synaptic terminals. While α-Syn is at the center of interest due to its implication in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other synucleinopathies, limited information exists on the other members. The current study aimed at investigating the biological role of γ-Syn controlling the midbrain dopamine (DA) function. We generated two different mouse models with i) γ-Syn overexpression induced by an adeno-associated viral vector and ii) γ-Syn knockdown induced by a ligand-conjugated antisense oligonucleotide, to modify the endogenous γ-Syn transcription levels in midbrain DA neurons. The progressive overexpression of γ-Syn decreased DA neurotransmission in the nigrostriatal and mesocortical pathways. In parallel, mice evoked motor deficits in the rotarod and impaired cognitive performance as assessed by novel object recognition, passive avoidance, and Morris water maze tests. Conversely, acute γ-Syn knockdown selectively in DA neurons facilitated forebrain DA neurotransmission. Importantly, modifications in γ-Syn expression did not induce the loss of DA neurons or changes in α-Syn expression. Collectively, our data strongly suggest that DA re-lease/re-uptake processes in the nigrostriatal and mesocortical pathways are partially dependent on SNc/VTA γ-Syn transcription levels, and are linked to modulation of DA transporter function, similar to α-Syn.