TDP-43 mediated blood-brain barrier permeability and leukocyte infiltration promote neurodegeneration in a low-grade systemic inflammation mouse model

Frank Zamudio, Anjanet R. Loon, Shayna Smeltzer, Khawla Benyamine, Nanda K. Navalpur Shanmugam, Nicholas J.F. Stewart, Daniel C. Lee, Kevin Nash, Maj Linda B. Selenica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions containing TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) are a neuropathological feature of several neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Emerging evidence also indicates that systemic inflammation may be a contributor to the pathology progression of these neurodegenerative diseases. Methods: To investigate the role of systemic inflammation in the progression of neuronal TDP-43 pathology, AAV9 particles driven by the UCHL1 promoter were delivered to the frontal cortex of wild-type aged mice via intracranial injections to overexpress TDP-43 or green fluorescent protein (GFP) in corticospinal motor neurons. Animals were then subjected to a low-dose (500 μg/kg) intraperitoneal E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration challenge for 2 weeks to mimic a chronically altered low-grade systemic inflammatory state. Mice were then subjected to neurobehavioral studies, followed by biochemical and immunohistochemical analyses of the brain tissue. Results: In the present study, we report that elevated neuronal TDP-43 levels induced microglial and astrocytic activation in the cortex of injected mice followed by increased RANTES signaling. Moreover, overexpression of TDP-43 exerted abundant mouse immunoglobulin G (IgG), CD3, and CD4+ T cell infiltration as well as endothelial and pericyte activation suggesting increased blood-brain barrier permeability. The BBB permeability in TDP-43 overexpressing brains yielded the frontal cortex vulnerable to the systemic inflammatory response following LPS treatment, leading to marked neutrophil infiltration, neuronal loss, reduced synaptosome-associated protein 25 (SNAP-25) levels, and behavioral impairments in the radial arm water maze (RAWM) task. Conclusions: These results reveal a novel role for TDP-43 in BBB permeability and leukocyte recruitment, indicating complex intermolecular interactions between an altered systemic inflammatory state and pathologically prone TDP-43 protein to promote disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number283
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 26 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Astrocytosis
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Microglial activation
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Synaptic dysfunction
  • Systemic inflammation
  • TDP-43

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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