Compensatory mechanism of motor defect in SOD1 transgenic mice by overactivation of striatal cholinergic neurons

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Abstract

EXPRESSION of a mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene in transgenic mice induces a gradual degeneration of cholinergic motor neurons in the spinal cord, causing progressive muscle weakness and hindlimb paralysis. Transgenic mice over-expressing the human SOD1 gene containing a Gly→Ala substitution at position 93 (G93A) were employed to explore the effects of the SOD1 mutation on choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) expression in the striatum, and in the lumbar and cervical spinal cord. These mice showed a progressive loss of their spinal cord motor neurons, and at 130 days of age showed an up-regulation of ChAT mRNA expression in the striatum. On the other hand, ChAT mRNA decreased in cervical and lumbar motor neurons. These findings suggest that cholinergic inter-neurons in striatum in SOD1 transgenic mice are over-activated in an attempt to compensate for the death of spinal motor neurons.

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