Propagation of pathological α-synuclein in marmoset brain

Aki Shimozawa, Maiko Ono, Daisuke Takahara, Airi Tarutani, Sei Imura, Masami Masuda-Suzukake, Makoto Higuchi, Kazuhiko Yanai, Shin Ichi Hisanaga, Masato Hasegawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


α-Synuclein is a defining, key component of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), as well as glial cytoplasmic inclusions in multiple system atrophy (MSA). The distribution and spreading of these pathologies are closely correlated with disease progression. Recent studies have revealed that intracerebral injection of synthetic α-synuclein fibrils or pathological α-synuclein prepared from DLB or MSA brains into wild-type or transgenic animal brains induced prion-like propagation of phosphorylated α-synuclein pathology. The common marmoset is a very small primate that is expected to be a useful model of human diseases. Here, we show that intracerebral injection of synthetic α-synuclein fibrils into adult wild-type marmoset brains (caudate nucleus and/or putamen) resulted in spreading of abundant α-synuclein pathologies, which were positive for various antibodies to α-synuclein, including phospho Ser129-specific antibody, anti-ubiquitin and anti-p62 antibodies, at three months after injection. Remarkably, robust Lewy body-like inclusions were formed in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in these marmosets, strongly suggesting the retrograde spreading of abnormal α-synuclein from striatum to substantia nigra. Moreover, a significant decrease in the numbers of TH-positive neurons was observed in the injection-side of the brain, where α-synuclein inclusions were deposited. Furthermore, most of the α-synuclein inclusions were positive for 1-fluoro-2,5-bis (3-carboxy-4-hydroxystyryl) benzene (FSB) and thioflavin-S, which are dyes widely used to visualize the presence of amyloid. Thus, injection of synthetic α-synuclein fibrils into brains of non-transgenic primates induced PD-like α-synuclein pathologies within only 3 months after injection. Finally, we provide evidence indicating that neurons with abnormal α-synuclein inclusions may be cleared by microglial cells. This is the first marmoset model for α-synuclein propagation. It should be helpful in studies to elucidate mechanisms of disease progression and in development and evaluation of disease-modifying drugs for α-synucleinopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12
Number of pages1
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Circuits
  • Marmoset
  • Parkinson
  • Prion
  • α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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