Robust kinase- and age-dependent dopaminergic and norepinephrine neurodegeneration in LRRK2 G2019S transgenic mice

Yulan Xiong, Stewart Neifert, Senthilkumar S. Karuppagounder, Qinfang Liu, Jeannette N. Stankowski, Byoung Dae Lee, Han Seok Ko, Yunjong Lee, Jonathan C. Grima, Xiaobo Mao, Haisong Jiang, Sung Ung Kang, Deborah A. Swing, Lorraine Iacovitti, Lino Tessarollo, Ted M. Dawson, Valina L. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Mutations in LRRK2 are known to be the most common genetic cause of sporadic and familial Parkinson’s disease (PD). Multiple lines of LRRK2 transgenic or knockin mice have been developed, yet none exhibit substantial dopamine (DA)-neuron degeneration. Here we develop human tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) promoter-controlled tetracycline-sensitive LRRK2 G2019S (GS) and LRRK2 G2019S kinase-dead (GS/DA) transgenic mice and show that LRRK2 GS expression leads to an age- and kinase-dependent cell-autonomous neurodegeneration of DA and norepinephrine (NE) neurons. Accompanying the loss of DA neurons are DA-dependent behavioral deficits and α-synuclein pathology that are also LRRK2 GS kinase-dependent. Transmission EM reveals that that there is an LRRK2 GS kinase-dependent significant reduction in synaptic vesicle number and a greater abundance of clathrin-coated vesicles in DA neurons. These transgenic mice indicate that LRRK2-induced DA and NE neurodegeneration is kinase-dependent and can occur in a cell-autonomous manner. Moreover, these mice provide a substantial advance in animal model development for LRRK2-associated PD and an important platform to investigate molecular mechanisms for how DA neurons degenerate as a result of expression of mutant LRRK2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1635-1640
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 13 2018


  • LRRK2
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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