BMC neuroscience 2016 Oct 2817(1) 69
Fused in sarcoma (FUS) is an RNA-binding protein associated with the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. ALS manifests in patients as a progressive paralysis which leads to respiratory dysfunction and failure, the primary cause of death in ALS. We expressed human FUS in rats to determine if FUS would induce ALS relevant respiratory changes to serve as an early stage disease indicator. The FUS expression was initiated in adult rats by way of an intravenously administered adeno-associated virus vector serotype 9 (AAV9) providing an adult onset model.
The rats developed progressive motor impairments observed as early as 2-3 weeks post gene transfer. Respiratory abnormalities manifested 4-7 weeks post gene transfer including increased respiratory frequency and decreased tidal volume. Rats with breathing abnormalities also had arterial blood acidosis. Similar detailed plethysmographic changes were found in adult rats injected with AAV9 TDP-43. FUS gene transfer to adult rats yielded a consistent pre-clinical model with relevant motor paralysis in the early to middle stages and respiratory dysfunction at the end stage. Both FUS and TDP-43 yielded a similar consistent disease state.
This modeling method yields disease relevant motor and respiratory changes in adult rats. The reproducibility of the data supports the use of this method to study other disease related genes and their combinations as well as a platform for disease modifying interventional strategies.