MitoPark transgenic mouse model recapitulates the gastrointestinal dysfunction and gut-microbiome changes of Parkinson’s disease

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Ghaisas, Shivani
Langley, Monica R.
Palanisamy, Bharathi N.
Dutta, Somak
Narayanaswamy, Kirthi
Sarkar, Souvarish
Ay, Muhammet
Jin, Huajun
Anantharam, Vellareddy
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Elsevier B.V.
Plummer, Paul
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Gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances are one of the earliest symptoms affecting most patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). In many cases, these symptoms are observed years before motor impairments become apparent. Hence, the molecular and cellular underpinnings that contribute to this early GI dysfunction in PD have actively been explored using a relevant animal model. The MitoPark model is a chronic, progressive mouse model recapitulating several key pathophysiological aspects of PD. However, GI dysfunction and gut microbiome changes have not been categorized in this model. Herein, we show that decreased GI motility was one of the first non-motor symptoms to develop, evident as early as 8 weeks with significantly different transit times from 12 weeks onwards. These symptoms were observed well before motor symptoms developed, thereby paralleling PD progression in humans. At age 24 weeks, we observed increased colon transit time and reduced fecal water content, indicative of constipation. Intestinal inflammation was evidenced with increased expression of iNOS and TNFα in the small and large intestine. Specifically, iNOS was observed mainly in the enteric plexi, indicating enteric glial cell activation. A pronounced loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons occurred at 24 weeks both in the mid-brain region as well as the gut, leading to a corresponding decrease in dopamine (DA) production. We also observed decreased DARPP-32 expression in the colon, validating the loss of DAergic neurons in the gut. However, the total number of enteric neurons did not significantly differ between the two groups. Metabolomic gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of fecal samples showed increased sterol, glycerol, and tocopherol production in MitoPark mice compared to age-matched littermate controls at 20 weeks of age while 16 s microbiome sequencing showed a transient temporal increase in the genus Prevotella. Altogether, the data shed more light on the role of the gut dopaminergic system in maintaining intestinal health. Importantly, this model recapitulates the chronology and development of GI dysfunction along with other non-motor symptoms and can become an attractive translational animal model for pre-clinical assessment of the efficacy of new anti-Parkinsonian drugs that can alleviate GI dysfunction in PD.
This is a manuscript of an article published as Ghaisas, Shivani, Monica R. Langley, Bharathi N. Palanisamy, Somak Dutta, Kirthi Narayanaswamy, Paul J. Plummer, Souvarish Sarkar et al. "MitoPark transgenic mouse model recapitulates the gastrointestinal dysfunction and gut-microbiome changes of Parkinson’s disease." Neurotoxicology 75 (2019): 186-199. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuro.2019.09.004. Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Posted with permission.