Age-Related Changes of the Synucleins Profile in the Mouse Retina

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Abstract

Alpha-synuclein (aSyn) plays a central role in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and has been extensively studied in the brain. This protein is part of the synuclein family, which is also composed of beta-synuclein (bSyn) and gamma-synuclein (gSyn). In addition to its neurotoxic role, synucleins have important functions in the nervous system, modulating synaptic transmission. Synucleins are expressed in the retina, but they have been poorly characterized. However, there is evidence that they are important for visual function and that they can play a role in retinal degeneration. This study aimed to profile synucleins in the retina of naturally aged mice and to correlate their patterns with specific retinal cells. With aging, we observed a decrease in the thickness of specific retinal layers, accompanied by an increase in glial reactivity. Moreover, the aSyn levels decreased, whereas bSyn increased with aging. The colocalization of both proteins was decreased in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) of the aged retina. gSyn presented an age-related decrease at the inner nuclear layer but was not significantly changed in the ganglion cell layer. The synaptic marker synaptophysin was shown to be preferentially colocalized with aSyn in the IPL with aging. At the same time, aSyn was found to exist at the presynaptic endings of bipolar cells and was affected by aging. Overall, this study suggests that physiological aging can be responsible for changes in the retinal tissue, implicating functional alterations that could affect synuclein family function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180
JournalBiomolecules
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • aging
  • degeneration
  • retina
  • synuclein

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