Objective: The nicotinamide-nucleotide adenylyltransferase protein Nmnat1 is a potent inhibitor of axonal degeneration in models of acute axonal injury. Hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein Tau are associated with neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's Disease and other disorders. Previous studies have demonstrated that other Nmnat isoforms can act both as axonoprotective agents and have protein chaperone function, exerting protective effects in drosophila and mouse models of tauopathy. Nmnat1 targeted to the cytoplasm (cytNmnat1) is neuroprotective in a mouse model of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, but the effect of cytNmnat1 on tauopathy remains unknown. Methods: We examined the impact of overexpression of cytNmnat1 on tau pathology, neurodegeneration, and brain functional connectivity in the P301S mouse model of chronic tauopathy. Results: Overexpression of cytNmnat1 preserved cortical neuron functional connectivity in P301S mice in vivo. However, whereas Nmnat1 overexpression decreased the accumulation of detergent-insoluble tau aggregates in the cerebral cortex, it exerted no effect on immunohistochemical evidence of pathologic tau phosphorylation and misfolding, hippocampal atrophy, or inflammatory markers in P301S mice. Interpretation: Our results demonstrate that cytNmnat1 partially preserves neuronal function and decreases biochemically insoluble tau in a mouse model of chronic tauopathy without preventing tau phosphorylation, formation of soluble aggregates, or tau-induced inflammation and atrophy. Nmnat1 might thus represent a therapeutic target for tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


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