Generation of alpha-synuclein preformed fibrils from monomers and use in vivo

Academic Article


  • Use of the in vivo alpha-synuclein preformed fibril (α-syn PFF) model of synucleinopathy is gaining popularity among researchers aiming to model Parkinson's disease synucleinopathy and nigrostriatal degeneration. The standardization of α-syn PFF generation and in vivo application is critical in order to ensure consistent, robust α-syn pathology. Here, we present a detailed protocol for the generation of fibrils from monomeric α-syn, post-fibrilization quality control steps, and suggested parameters for successful neurosurgical injection of α-syn PFFs into rats or mice. Starting with monomeric α-syn, fibrilization occurs over a 7-day incubation period while shaking at optimal buffer conditions, concentration, and temperature. Post-fibrilization quality control is assessed by the presence of pelletable fibrils via sedimentation assay, the formation of amyloid conformation in the fibrils with a thioflavin T assay, and electron microscopic visualization of the fibrils. Whereas successful validation using these assays is necessary for success, they are not sufficient to guarantee PFFs will seed α-syn inclusions in neurons, as such aggregation activity of each PFF batch should be tested in cell culture or in pilot animal cohorts. Prior to use, PFFs must be sonicated under precisely standardized conditions, followed by examination using electron microscopy or dynamic light scattering to confirm fibril lengths are within optimal size range, with an average length of 50 nm. PFFs can then be added to cell culture media or used in animals. Pathology detectable by immunostaining for phosphorylated α-syn (psyn; serine 129) is apparent days or weeks later in cell culture and rodent models, respectively.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21347150
  • Author List

  • Patterson JR; Polinski NK; Duffy MF; Kemp CJ; Luk KC; Volpicelli-Daley LA; Kanaan NM; Sortwell CE
  • Volume

  • 2019
  • Issue

  • 148