Zhuchi Tu, Sen Yan, Bofeng Han, Caijuan Li, Weien Liang, Yingqi Lin, Yongyan Ding, Huiyi Wei, Lu Wang, Hao Xu, Jianmeng Ye, Bang Li, Shihua Li, and Xiao-Jiang Li
Tauopathy, characterized by the hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau, and the accumulation of Aβ oligomers, constitute the major pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the relationship and causal roles of these two pathological changes in neurodegeneration remain to be defined, even though they occur together or independently in several neurodegenerative diseases associated with cognitive and movement impairment. While it is widely accepted that Aβ accumulation leads to tauopathy in the late stages of the disease, it is still unknown whether tauopathy influences the formation of toxic Aβ oligomers. To address this, we generated transgenic cynomolgus monkey models expressing Tau (P301L) through lentiviral infection of monkey embryos. These monkeys developed age-dependent neurodegeneration and motor dysfunction. Additionally, we performed a stereotaxic injection of adult monkey and mouse brains to express Tau (P301L) via AAV9 infection. Importantly, we found that tauopathy resulting from embryonic transgenic Tau expression or stereotaxic brain injection of AAV-Tau selectively promoted the generation of Aβ oligomers in the monkey spinal cord. These Aβ oligomers were recognized by several antibodies to Aβ1–42 and contributed to neurodegeneration. However, the generation of Aβ oligomers was not observed in other brain regions of Tau transgenic monkeys or in the brains of mice injected with AAV9-Tau (P301L), suggesting that the generation of Aβ oligomers is species- and brain region-dependent. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that tauopathy can trigger Aβ pathology in the primate spinal cord and provide new insight into the pathogenesis and treatment of tauopathy.
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