JCI Insight. 2024 Mar 21:e176057. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.176057. Online ahead of print.


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by an expanded polyglutamine tract in the widely expressed ataxin-1 (ATXN1) protein. To elucidate anatomical regions and cell types that underlie mutant ATXN1-induced disease phenotypes, we developed a floxed conditional knockin mouse (f-ATXN1146Q/2Q) with mouse Atxn1 coding exons replaced by human ATXN1 exons encoding 146 glutamines. f-ATXN1146Q/2Q mice manifested SCA1-like phenotypes including motor and cognitive deficits, wasting, and decreased survival. Central nervous system (CNS) contributions to disease were revealed using f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;Nestin-Cre mice, that showed improved rotarod, open field, and Barnes maze performance by 6-12 weeks-of-age. In contrast, striatal contributions to motor deficits using f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;Rgs9-Cre mice revealed that mice lacking ATXN1146Q/2Q in striatal medium-spiny neurons showed a trending improvement in rotarod performance at 30 weeks-of-age. Surprisingly, a prominent role for muscle contributions to disease was revealed in f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;ACTA1-Cre mice based on their recovery from kyphosis and absence of muscle pathology. Collectively, data from the targeted conditional deletion of the expanded allele demonstrated CNS and peripheral contributions to disease and highlighted the need to consider muscle in addition to the brain for optimal SCA1 therapeutics.

PMID:38512434 | DOI:10.1172/jci.insight.176057