Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is an autosomal dominant progressive neurodegenerative disorder with intellectual deterioration and various motor deficits including ataxia, choreoathetosis, and myoclonus, caused by an abnormal expansion of CAG repeats in the DRPLA gene. Longer expanded CAG repeats contribute to an earlier age of onset, faster progression, and more severe neurological symptoms in DRPLA patients. In this study, we have established DRPLA transgenic mouse lines (sublines) harboring a single copy of the full-length mutant human DRPLA gene carrying various lengths of expanded CAG repeats (Q76, Q96, Q113, and Q129), which have clearly shown motor deficits and memory disturbance whose severity increases with the length of expanded CAG repeats and age, and successfully replicated the CAG repeat length- and age-dependent features of DRPLA patients. Neuronal intranuclear accumulation of the mutant DRPLA protein has been suggested to cause transcriptional dysregulation, leading to alteration in gene expression and neuronal dysfunction. In this study, we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of gene expression profiles in the cerebrum and cerebellum of transgenic mouse lines at 4, 8, and 12. weeks using multiple microarray platforms, and demonstrated that both the number and expression levels of the altered genes are highly dependent on CAG repeat length and age in both brain regions. Specific groups of genes and their function categories were identified by further agglomerative cluster analysis and gene functional annotation analysis. Calcium signaling and neuropeptide signaling, among others, were implicated in the pathophysiology of DRPLA. Our study provides unprecedented CAG-repeat-length-dependent mouse models of DRPLA, which are highly valuable not only for elucidating the CAG-repeat-length-dependent pathophysiology of DRPLA but also for developing therapeutic strategies for DRPLA.
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