LRRK2 inhibition prevents endolysosomal deficits seen in human Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • LRRK2 has been implicated in endolysosomal function and likely plays a central role in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (iPD). In iPD, dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra are characterized by increased LRRK2 kinase activity, endolysosomal deficits, and accumulation of autophagic vesicles with incompletely degraded substrates, including α-synuclein. Although LRRK2 has been implicated in endolysosomal and autophagic function, it remains unclear whether inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity can prevent endolysosomal deficits or reduce dopaminergic neurodegeneration. In this study, we characterized the endolysosomal and autophagic defects in surviving dopaminergic neurons of iPD patient brain tissue. We next showed that these defects could be reproduced reliably in vivo using the rotenone model of iPD. Results suggested that there was impaired endosomal maturation, resulting in lysosomal dysfunction and deficits in protein degradation. A highly selective, brain-penetrant LRRK2 kinase inhibitor not only improved apparent endosomal maturation and lysosomal function, but also prevented rotenone-induced neurodegeneration in vivo. The fact that a LRRK2 kinase inhibitor was capable of preventing the neuropathological and endolysosomal abnormalities observed in human iPD suggests that LRRK2 inhibitors may have broad therapeutic utility in iPD, not only in those who carry a LRRK2 mutation.
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    Author List

  • Rocha EM; De Miranda BR; Castro S; Drolet R; Hatcher NG; Yao L; Smith SM; Keeney MT; Di Maio R; Kofler J
  • Volume

  • 134