Debilitating, yet underinvestigated nonmotor symptoms related to mood/emotion, such as depression, are common in Parkinson's disease. Here, we explore the role of depression and of the amygdala, a brain region robustly linked to mood/emotion, in synucleinopathy. We hypothesized that mood/emotional deficits might accelerate Parkinson's disease-linked symptomatology, including the formation of α-synuclein pathology. We combined elevated corticosterone treatment, modeling chronic stress and depression, with a model of seeded α-synuclein pathology in mouse striatum and assessed behavioral parameters with a focus on mood/emotion, and neuropathology. We report behavioral resilience against α-synuclein proteinopathy in the absence of additional insults, potentially based on hormesis/conditioning mechanisms. Elevated corticosterone, however, reversed α-synuclein pathology-induced behavioral adaptations and was associated with increased dopaminergic cell loss as well as aggravated α-synuclein pathology in specific brain regions, such as the entorhinal cortex. These findings point to elevated glucocorticoids as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease progression and highlight the potential of glucocorticoid level reducing strategies to slow down disease progression in synucleinopathy.
Keywords: Chronic stress; Conditioning; Depression; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson's disease; Synuclein.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.