Neurofilamentous changes in select groups of neurons are associated with the degenerative changes of many human age-related neurodegenerative diseases. To examine the possible effects of aging on the neuronal cytoskeleton containing human proteins, the retinas of transgenic mice expressing the gene for the human middle-sized neurofilament triplet were investigated at 3 or 12 months of age. Transgenic mice developed tangle-like neurofilamentous accumulations in a subset of retinal ganglion cells at 12 months of age. These neurofilamentous accumulations, which also involved endogenous neurofilament proteins, were present in the perikarya and proximal processes of large ganglion cells and were predominantly located in peripheral retina. The presence of the human protein may thus confer vulnerability of the cytoskeleton to age-related alterations in this specific retinal cell type and may serve as a model for similar cellular changes associated with Alzheimer's disease and glaucoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience