Identification of cerebral metal ion imbalance in the brain of aging Octodon degus

Nady Braidy, Anne Poljak, Chris Marjo, Helen Rutlidge, Anne Rich, Bat-Erdene Jugder, Tharusha Jayasena, Nibaldo C. Inestrosa, Perminder S. Sachdev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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The accumulation of redox-active transition metals in the brain and metal dyshomeostasis are thought to be associated with the etiology and pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in particular. As well, distinct biometal imaging and role of metal uptake transporters are central to understanding AD pathogenesis and aging but remain elusive, due inappropriate detection methods. We therefore hypothesized that Octodon degus develop neuropathological abnormalities in the distribution of redox active biometals, and this effect may be due to alterations in the expression of lysosomal protein, major Fe/Cu transporters, and selected Zn transporters (ZnTs and ZIPs). Herein, we report the distribution profile of biometals in the aged brain of the endemic Chilean rodent O. degus-a natural model to investigate the role of metals on the onset and progression of AD. Using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, our quantitative images of biometals (Fe, Ca, Zn, Cu, and Al) appear significantly elevated in the aged O. degus and show an age-dependent rise. The metals Fe, Ca, Zn, and Cu were specifically enriched in the cortex and hippocampus, which are the regions where amyloid plaques, tau phosphorylation and glial alterations are most commonly reported, whilst Al was enriched in the hippocampus alone. Using whole brain extracts, age-related deregulation of metal trafficking pathways was also observed in O. degus. More specifically, we observed impaired lysosomal function, demonstrated by increased cathepsin D protein expression. An age-related reduction in the expression of subunit B2 of V-ATPase, and significant increases in amyloid beta peptide 42 (Aβ42), and the metal transporter ATP13a2 were also observed. Although the protein expression levels of the zinc transporters, ZnT (1,3,4,6, and 7), and ZIP7,8 and ZIP14 increased in the brain of aged O. degus, ZnT10, decreased. Although no significant age-related change was observed for the major iron/copper regulator IRP2, we did find a significant increase in the expression of DMT1, a major transporter of divalent metal species, 5'-aminolevulinate synthase 2 (ALAS2), and the proto-oncogene, FOS. Collectively, our data indicate that transition metals may be enriched with age in the brains of O. degus, and metal dyshomeostasis in specific brain regions is age-related.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Corrigendum can be found in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 9:134 https://10.3389/fnagi.2017.00134


  • metals
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • bioimaging
  • Octodon degus


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