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Keywords:

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • astrocytes;
  • Chi3L1;
  • Lcn2;
  • TDP-43

Abstract

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Mutation in TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a causative factor of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Neurodegeneration may not require the presence of pathogenic TDP-43 in all types of relevant cells. Rather, expression of pathogenic TDP-43 in neurons or astrocytes alone is sufficient to cause cell-autonomous or non-cell-autonomous neuron death in transgenic rats. How pathogenic TDP-43 in astrocytes causes non-cell-autonomous neuron death, however, is not clear. Here, we examined the effect of pathogenic TDP-43 on gene expression in astrocytes. Microarray assay revealed that pathogenic TDP-43 in astrocytes preferentially altered expression of the genes encoding secretory proteins. Whereas neurotrophic genes were down-regulated, neurotoxic genes were up-regulated. Representative genes Lcn2 and chitinase-3-like protein 1 were markedly up-regulated in astrocytes from primary culture and intact transgenic rats. Furthermore, synthetic chitinase-3-like protein 1 induced neuron death in a dose-dependent manner. Our results suggest that TDP-43 pathogenesis is associated with the simultaneous induction of multiple neurotoxic genes in astrocytes, which may synergistically produce adverse effects on neuronal survival and contribute to non-cell-autonomous neuron death.

Restricted expression of pathogenic TDP-43 in astrocytes causes non-cell-autonomous motor neuron death in transgenic rats. As revealed by microarray assay, pathogenic TDP-43 in astrocytes preferentially altered expression of the genes encoding secretory proteins. Whereas neurotrophic genes were down-regulated, neurotoxic genes were up-regulated. Therefore, TDP-43 pathogenesis is associated with simultaneous induction of neurotoxic genes and repression of neurotrophic genes in astrocytes.