Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing and fatal disease characterized by muscular atrophy because of loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Histopathologically, most patients with ALS have abnormal cytoplasmic accumulation and aggregation of the nuclear RNA-regulating protein TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43). Pathogenic mutations in the TARDBP gene that encode TDP-43 have been identified in familial ALS. We have previously reported transgenic mice with neuronal expression of human TDP-43 carrying the pathogenic A315T mutation (iTDP-43A315T mice), presenting with early-onset motor deficits in adolescent animals. Here, we analyzed aged iTDP-43A315T mice, focusing on the spatiotemporal profile and progression of neurodegeneration in upper and lower motor neurons. Magnetic resonance imaging and histologic analysis revealed a differential loss of upper motor neurons in a hierarchical order as iTDP-43A315T mice aged. Furthermore, we report progressive gait problems, profound motor deficits, and muscle atrophy in aged iTDP-43A315T mice. Despite these deficits and TDP-43 pathologic disorders in lower motor neurons, stereological analysis did not show cell loss in spinal cords. Taken together, neuronal populations in aging iTDP-43A315T mice show differential susceptibility to the expression of human TDP-43A315T.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- muscular atrophy
- abnormal cytoplasmic accumulation
- TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)
- pathogenic A315T mutation
- iTDP-43A315T mice