The circadian clock protein BMAL1 modulates glial activation and amyloid-beta deposition in mice. However, the effects of BMAL1 on other aspects of neurodegenerative pathology are unknown. Here, we show that global post-natal deletion of Bmal1 in mouse tauopathy or alpha-synucleinopathy models unexpectedly suppresses both tau and alpha-synuclein (αSyn) aggregation and related pathology. Astrocyte-specific Bmal1 deletion is sufficient to prevent both αSyn and tau pathology in vivo and induces astrocyte activation and the expression of Bag3, a chaperone critical for macroautophagy. Astrocyte Bmal1 deletion enhances phagocytosis of αSyn and tau in a Bag3-dependent manner, and astrocyte Bag3 overexpression is sufficient to mitigate αSyn spreading in vivo. In humans, BAG3 is increased in patients with AD and is highly expressed in disease-associated astrocytes (DAAs). Our results suggest that early activation of astrocytes via Bmal1 deletion induces Bag3 to protect against tau and αSyn pathologies, providing new insights into astrocyte-specific therapies for neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2398.e7
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2 2023


  • Alzheimer disease
  • BAG3
  • BMAL1
  • Parkinson's disease
  • alpha-synuclein
  • astrocytes
  • circadian
  • neuroinflammation
  • tau


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