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Title: Autophagy in Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2, a dysregulated pathway, and a target for therapy
Authors: Marcelo, Adriana 
Afonso, Inês T
Afonso-Reis, Ricardo
Brito, David V C
Costa, Rafael G
Rosa, Ana
Alves-Cruzeiro, João
Ferreira, Benedita
Henriques, Carina
Nobre, Rui J
Matos, Carlos A
Almeida, Luís Pereira de 
Nóbrega, Clévio 
Issue Date: 29-Nov-2021
Publisher: Springer Nature
Project: SFRH/BD/ 133192/2017 
Serial title, monograph or event: Cell Death and Disease
Volume: 12
Issue: 12
Abstract: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an incurable and genetic neurodegenerative disorder. The disease is characterized by progressive degeneration of several brain regions, resulting in severe motor and non-motor clinical manifestations. The mutation causing SCA2 disease is an abnormal expansion of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the ATXN2 gene, leading to a toxic expanded polyglutamine segment in the translated ataxin-2 protein. While the genetic cause is well established, the exact mechanisms behind neuronal death induced by mutant ataxin-2 are not yet completely understood. Thus, the goal of this study is to investigate the role of autophagy in SCA2 pathogenesis and investigate its suitability as a target for therapeutic intervention. For that, we developed and characterized a new striatal lentiviral mouse model that resembled several neuropathological hallmarks observed in SCA2 disease, including formation of aggregates, neuronal marker loss, cell death and neuroinflammation. In this new model, we analyzed autophagic markers, which were also analyzed in a SCA2 cellular model and in human post-mortem brain samples. Our results showed altered levels of SQSTM1 and LC3B in cells and tissues expressing mutant ataxin-2. Moreover, an abnormal accumulation of these markers was detected in SCA2 patients' striatum and cerebellum. Importantly, the molecular activation of autophagy, using the compound cordycepin, mitigated the phenotypic alterations observed in disease models. Overall, our study suggests an important role for autophagy in the context of SCA2 pathology, proposing that targeting this pathway could be a potential target to treat SCA2 patients.
ISSN: 2041-4889
DOI: 10.1038/s41419-021-04404-1
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CNC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
FFUC- Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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