Animal models of brain-first and body-first Parkinson's disease

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Alpha-synuclein aggregates are the hallmark pathology of Parkinson's disease, which can propagate in a stereotypical pattern along the brain-body axis. Parkinson's disease patients not only display heterogeneous symptoms but also show variable patterns of alpha-synuclein pathology and affected neuronal systems during the disease course, complicating early and accurate diagnosis. Emerging data from post-mortem and imaging studies strongly suggest that disease heterogeneity could, at least in part, be explained by variable disease onset site, i.e. brain or body. This has led to the recently hypothesized formulation of two Parkinson's disease-subtypes, a body-first subtype where pathogenic alpha-synuclein arises in the body and spreads to the brain, and a brain-first subtype where pathogenic alpha-synuclein arises in the brain and spreads to the body. From a preclinical perspective, several animal models have been adapted or developed to reproduce Parkinson's disease-like pathology in the brain or periphery aiming to address the site of disease onset. Here, we review the current rodent and primate models that aim to reproduce Parkinson's disease pathology development and spreading in the brain and/or body and discuss the value and shortcomings of these models for the development of potential future applications in clinical trials and personalized medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105599
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2021

    Research areas

  • Alpha-synuclein, Animal models, Parkinson's disease subtypes, Seeding

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