Senescence-accelerated OXYS rats are an experimental model of accelerated aging that was established from wistar stock via selection for susceptibility to cataractogenic effects of a galactose-rich diet and via subsequent inbreeding of highly susceptible rats. Currently, we have the 102nd generation of OXYS rats with spontaneously developing cataract and accelerated senescence syndrome, which means early development of a phenotype similar to human geriatric disorders, including accelerated brain aging. in recent years, our group found strong evidence that OXYS rats are a promising model for studies of the mechanisms of brain aging and neurodegenerative processes similar to those seen in Alzheimer disease (AD). The manifestation of behavioral alterations and learning and memory deficits develop since the fourth week of age, i.e., simultaneously with first signs of neurodegeneration detectable on magnetic resonance imaging and under a light microscope. in addition, impaired long-term potentiation has been demonstrated in OXYS rats by the age of 3 months. with age, neurodegenerative changes in the brain of OXYS rats become amplified. we have shown that this deterioration happens against the background of overproduction of amyloid precursor protein (AβPP), accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ), and hyperphosphorylation of the tau protein in the hippocampus and cortex. The development of AMDlike retinopathy in OXYS rats is also accompanied by increased accumulation of Aβ in the retina. These published data suggest that the OXYS strain may serve as a spontaneous rat model of AD-like pathology and could help to decipher the pathogenesis of AD.
The amyloid cascade hypothesis posits that deposition of the amyloid β (Aβ) peptide in the brain is a key event in the initiation of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Nonetheless, it now seems increasingly unlikely that amyloid toxicity is the cause of sporadic AD, which leads to cognitive decline. Here, using accelerated-senescence nontransgenic OXYS rats, we confirmed that aggregation of Aβ is a later event in AD-like pathology. We showed that an age-dependent increase in the levels of Aβ1–42 and extracellular Aβ deposits in the brain of OXYS rats occur later than do synaptic losses, neuronal cell death, mitochondrial structural abnormalities, and hyperphosphorylation of the tau protein. We identified the variants of the genes that are strongly associated with the risk of either late-onset or early-onset AD, including App, Apoe4, Bace1, Psen1, Psen2, and Picalm. We found that in OXYS rats nonsynonymous SNPs were located only in the genes Casp3 and Sorl1. Thus, we present proof that OXYS rats may be a model of sporadic AD. It is possible that multiple age-associated pathological processes may precede the toxic amyloid accumulation, which in turn triggers the final stage of the sporadic form of AD and becomes a hallmark event of the disease.
Pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly, remains poorly understood due to the paucity of animal models that fully replicate the human disease. Recently, we showed that senescence-accelerated OXYS rats develop a retinopathy similar to human AMD. To identify alterations in response to normal aging and progression of AMD-like retinopathy, we compared gene expression profiles of retina from 3- and 18-mo-old OXYS and control Wistar rats by means of high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). We identified 160 and 146 age-regulated genes in Wistar and OXYS retinas, respectively. The majority of them are related to the immune system and extracellular matrix turnover. Only 24 age-regulated genes were common for the two strains, suggestive of different rates and mechanisms of aging. Over 600 genes showed significant differences in expression between the two strains. These genes are involved in disease-associated pathways such as immune response, inflammation, apoptosis, Ca ( 2+) homeostasis and oxidative stress. The altered expression for selected genes was confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis. To our knowledge, this study represents the first analysis of retinal transcriptome from young and old rats with biologic replicates generated by RNA-Seq technology. We can conclude that the development of AMD-like retinopathy in OXYS rats is associated with an imbalance in immune and inflammatory responses. Aging alters the expression profile of numerous genes in the retina, and the genetic background of OXYS rats has a profound impact on the development of AMD-like retinopathy.
The main cause of vision loss in older individuals is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)--a complex multifactorial disease, whose etiology and pathogenesis are not completely understood. This is due to the impossibility of investigating the early stages of AMD and paucity of biological models. The senescence-accelerated OXYS rats develop retinopathy with clinical and morphological manifestations similar to AMD. But the genetic determinants of its development are not known. Previously we identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with the development of cataract, retinopathy, and behavioral signs in OXYS rat. In this study, we used bioinformatic analysis to show the enrichment of QTL region with genes associated with neurodegeneration, including a pathway of Alzheimer's disease. For selected list of candidate genes we designed oligonucleotide DNA chips. Using them we found small but significant changes in expression of several genes in OXYS retina compared to disease-free Wistar rats. Among the genes with altered expression were Picalm and Apba2, known to be participants in the processing of the beta-amyloid (Ab). Measurement of Ab 1-42 in the retina showed that its level increases with age in rats, and at advanced stages of retinopathy in OXYS rats, its expression becomes significantly higher than that of disease-free Wistar rats. Based on functional annotation of QTL, microarray, and ELISA results we suggest that accumulation of Ab may have a role in the pathogenesis of retinopathy in OXYS rats.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of blindness in developed countries, and the molecular pathogenesis of early events in AMD is poorly understood. Senescence-accelerated OXYS rats develop AMD-like retinopathy. The aim of this study was to explore the differences in retinal gene expression between OXYS and Wistar (control) rats at age 20 d and to identify the pathways of retinal cell death involved in the OXYS retinopathy initiation and progression. Retinal mRNA profiles of 20-day-old OXYS and Wistar rats were generated at the sequencing read depth 40 mln, in triplicate, using Illumina GAIIx. A terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay was performed to measure the apoptosis level. GeneMANIA was used to construct interaction networks for differentially expressed (DE) apoptosis-related genes at ages 20 d and 3 and 18 months. Functional analysis was suggestive of a developmental process, signal transduction, and cell differentiation as the most enriched biological processes among 245 DE genes at age 20 d An increased level of apoptosis was observed in OXYS rats at age 20 d but not at advanced stages. We identified functional clusters in the constructed interaction networks and possible hub genes (Rasa1, cFLAR, Birc3, Cdk1, Hspa1b, Erbb3, and Ntf3). We also demonstrated the significance of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway at preclinical, early, and advanced stages of retinopathy development. Besides the cell death signaling pathways, immune system-related processes and lipid-metabolic processes showed overrepresentation in the clusters of all networks. These characteristics of the expression profile of the genes functionally associated with apoptosis may contribute to the pathogenesis of AMD-like retinopathy in senescence-accelerated OXYS rats.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract are common age-related diseases in humans. Previously we showed that senescence-accelerated OXYS rats develop retinopathy and cataract, which are comparable to human AMD and senile cataract. Here we focused on the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs), which affect early-onset cataract and retinopathy in OXYS rats, using F2 hybrids bred by a reciprocal cross (OXYS×WAG and WAG×OXYS). Chromosome 1 showed significant associations between retinopathy and loci in the regions of markers D1Rat30 and D1Rat219 (QTL1) as well as D1Rat219 and D1Rat81 (QTL2); and between early cataract development with the locus in the region of the markers D1Rat219 and D1Rat81 (QTL2). To determine the effects of these QTLs, we generated two congenic strains by transferring chromosome 1 regions from OXYS into WAG background. Both congenic strains (named WAG/OXYS-1.1 and WAG/OXYS-1.2, respectively) display early cataract and retinopathy development. Thus, we confirmed that genes located in the analyzed regions of chromosome 1 are associated with the development of these diseases in OXYS rats.
In the majority of colorectal cancer (CRC) cases, the genetic basis of predisposition remains unexplained. The goal of the study was to assess the regulatory SNPs (rSNPs) in the human genome and to reveal СRC drivers based on the available chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq, ChIA-PET) and transcriptional profiling (RNA-Seq) data. We combined positional (locations within genome regulatory elements) and functional (associated with allele-specific binding and expression) criteria followed by an analysis using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and minor allele frequency (MAF) datasets. DeSeq2 analysis through 70 CRC patients reinforced the regulatory potential. rSNPs (1,476) that were associated with significant (P < 0.01) allele-specific events resulting in thirty that exhibited a link with CRC according to the MAF and 27, with a risk of malignancy in general according to GWAS. Selected rSNPs may modify the expression of genes for tumor suppressors and the regulators of signaling pathways, including noncoding RNAs. However, the rSNPs from the most represented group affect the expression of genes related to splicing. Our findings strongly suggest that the identified variants might contribute to CRC susceptibility, which indicates that aberrant splicing is one of the key mechanisms for unraveling disease etiopathogenesis and provides useful inputs for interpreting how genotypic variation corresponds to phenotypic outcome.
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