Chronic corticosterone aggravates behavioral and neuronal symptomatology in a mouse model of alpha-synuclein pathology

Debilitating, yet underinvestigated nonmotor symptoms related to mood/emotion, such as depression, are common in Parkinson's disease. Here, we explore the role of depression and of the amygdala, a brain region robustly linked to mood/emotion, in synucleinopathy. We hypothesized that mood/emotional deficits might accelerate Parkinson's disease-linked symptomatology, including the formation of α-synuclein pathology. We combined elevated corticosterone treatment, modeling chronic stress and depression, with a model of seeded α-synuclein pathology in mouse striatum and assessed behavioral parameters with a focus on mood/emotion, and neuropathology. We report behavioral resilience against α-synuclein proteinopathy in the absence of additional insults, potentially based on hormesis/conditioning mechanisms. Elevated corticosterone, however, reversed α-synuclein pathology-induced behavioral adaptations and was associated with increased dopaminergic cell loss as well as aggravated α-synuclein pathology in specific brain regions, such as the entorhinal cortex. These findings point to elevated glucocorticoids as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease progression and highlight the potential of glucocorticoid level reducing strategies to slow down disease progression in synucleinopathy.


Published in:
Neurobiology of Aging, 83, 11-20
Year:
Aug 14 2019
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 Record created 2019-10-15, last modified 2020-02-11

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