Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a segmental progeroid syndrome with multiple features suggestive of premature accelerated aging. Accumulation of progerin is thought to underlie the pathophysiology of HGPS. However, despite ubiquitous expression of lamin A in all differentiated cells, the HGPS mutation results in organ-specific defects. For example, bone and skin are strongly affected by HGPS, while the brain appears to be unaffected. There are no definite explanations as to the variable sensitivity to progeria disease among different organs. In addition, low levels of progerin have also been found in several tissues from normal individuals, but it is not clear if low levels of progerin contribute to the aging of the brain. In an attempt to clarify the origin of this phenomenon, we have developed an inducible transgenic mouse model with expression of the most common HGPS mutation in brain, skin, bone and heart to investigate how the mutation affects these organs. Ultrastructural analysis of neuronal nuclei after 70 weeks of expression of the LMNA c.1824C>T mutation showed severe distortion with multiple lobulations and irregular extensions. Despite severe distortions in the nuclei of hippocampal neurons of HGPS animals, there were only negligible changes in gene expression after 63 weeks of transgenic expression. Behavioral analysis and neurogenesis assays, following long-term expression of the HGPS mutation, did not reveal significant pathology. Our results suggest that certain tissues are protected from functional deleterious effects of progerin.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.