α-Synuclein (α-Syn) aggregation underlies neurodegeneration in synucleinopathies. However, the nature of α-Syn aggregates and their toxic mechanisms in human pathology remains elusive. Here, we delineate a role of α-Syn oligomeric aggregates for axonal integrity in human neuronal models of synucleinopathies. α-Syn oligomers disrupt anterograde axonal transport of mitochondria by causing subcellular changes in transport-regulating proteins and energy deficits. An increase of α-Syn oligomers in human neurons finally results in synaptic degeneration. Together, our data provide mechanistic insights of α-Syn oligomeric toxicity in human neurons.Taking into account that α-Syn oligomers and axonal dysfunction are characteristic for early neurodegeneration in synucleinopathies, our data might deliver targets for therapeutic interference with early disease pathology.
Here is a link to the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/115/30/7813.full.pdf