Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder classically characterized by the death of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and by intracellular Lewy bodies composed largely of α-synuclein. Approximately 5-10% of PD patients have a familial form of Parkinsonism, including mutations in α-synuclein. To better understand the cell-type specific role of α-synuclein on DA neurotransmission, and the effects of the disease-associated A30P mutation, we generated and studied a novel transgenic model of PD. We expressed the A30P mutant form of human α-synuclein in a spatially-relevant manner from the 111kb SNCA genomic DNA locus on a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) insert on a mouse null (Snca-/-) background. The BAC transgenic mice expressed α-synuclein in tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons and expression of either A30P α-synuclein or wildtype α-synuclein restored the sensitivity of DA neurons to MPTP in resistant Snca-/- animals. A30P α-synuclein mice showed no Lewy body-like aggregation, and did not lose catecholamine neurons in substantia nigra or locus coeruleus. However, using cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes we identified a deficit in evoked DA release in the caudate putamen, but not in the nucleus accumbens, of SNCA-A30P Snca-/- mice but no changes to release of another catecholamine, norepinephrine (NE), in the NE-rich ventral bed nucleus of stria terminalis. SNCA-A30P Snca-/- mice had no overt behavioral impairments but exhibited a mild increase in wheel-running. In summary, this refined PD mouse model shows that A30P α-synuclein preferentially perturbs the dopaminergic system in the dorsal striatum, reflecting the region-specific change seen in PD.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiol Dis

Publication Date





193 - 207


Behavior, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Parkinson's disease, Voltammetry, α-Synuclein, Age Factors, Animals, Basal Ganglia, Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial, Disease Models, Animal, Dopamine, Dopaminergic Neurons, Female, Humans, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Norepinephrine, Septal Nuclei, alpha-Synuclein