Background: Synucleinopathies of the aging population are a heterogeneous group of neurological disorders that includes Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and are characterized by the progressive accumulation of α-synuclein in neuronal and glial cells.
Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a pattern recognition immune receptor, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies because TLR2 is elevated in the brains of patients with PD and TLR2 is a mediator of the neurotoxic and pro-inflammatory effects of extracellular α-synuclein aggregates. Therefore, blocking TLR2 might alleviate α-synuclein pathological and functional effects. For this purpose, herein, we targeted TLR2 using a functional inhibitory antibody (anti-TLR2).
Methods: Two different human α-synuclein overexpressing transgenic mice were used in this study. α-synuclein low expresser mouse (α-syn-tg, under the PDGFβ promoter, D line) was stereotaxically injected with TLR2 overexpressing lentivirus to demonstrate that increment of TLR2 expression triggers neurotoxicity and neuroinflammation. α-synuclein high expresser mouse (α-Syn-tg; under mThy1 promoter, Line 61) was administrated with anti-TLR2 to examine that functional inhibition of TLR2 ameliorates neuropathology and behavioral defect in the synucleinopathy animal model. In vitro α-synuclein transmission live cell monitoring system was used to evaluate the role of TLR2 in α-synuclein cell-to-cell transmission.
Results: We demonstrated that administration of anti-TLR2 alleviated α-synuclein accumulation in neuronal and astroglial cells, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and behavioral deficits in an α-synuclein tg mouse model of PD/DLB. Moreover, in vitro studies with neuronal and astroglial cells showed that the neuroprotective effects of anti-TLR2 antibody were mediated by blocking the neuron-to-neuron and neuron-to-astrocyte α-synuclein transmission which otherwise promotes NFκB dependent pro-inflammatory responses.
Conclusion: This study proposes TLR2 immunotherapy as a novel therapeutic strategy for synucleinopathies of the aging population.
FULL TEXT: Molecular Neurodegeneration
EDITOR’S NOTE: antibodies against TLR2 are injected into the mouse; the antibodies bind to the toll-like receptors, and α-synuclein can no longer pass from neuron to neuron. The α-synuclein doesn’t accumulate, the neurons are not inflamed, the brain does not degenerate, the mouse acts normally.