Early microglial activation precedes neuronal loss in the brain of the Cstb -/- mouse model of progressive myoclonus epilepsy, EPM1

Saara Tegelberg, Outi Kopra, Tarja Joensuu, Jonathan D. Cooper, Anna Elina Lehesjoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Progressive myoclonus epilepsy of Unverricht-Lundborg type (EPM1) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in the cystatin B (CSTB) gene encoding an inhibitor of cysteine proteases. Here, we provide the first detailed description of the onset and progression of pathologic changes in the CNS of Cstb-deficient (Cstb) mice. Our data reveal early and localized glial activation in brain regions where neuron loss subsequently occurs. These changes are most pronounced in the thalamocortical system, with neuron loss occurring first within the cortex and only subsequently in the corresponding thalamic relay nucleus. Microglial activation precedes the emergence of myoclonia and is followed by successive astrocytosis and selective neuron loss. Neuron loss was not detected in thalamic relay nuclei that displayed no glial activation. Microglia showed morphologic changes during disease progression from that of phagocytic brain macrophages in young animals to having thickened branched processes in older animals. These novel data on the timing ofpathologic events in the CSTB-deficient brain highlight the potentialrole of glial activation at the initial stages of the disease. Determiningthe precise sequence of the neurodegenerative events in Cstb mouse brains will lay the basis for understanding the pathophysiology of EPM1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-53
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Astrocyte activation
  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Cerebrum
  • Microglia
  • Myoclonus epilepsy
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Posterior thalamic nuclei
  • Somatosensory cortex

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