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Primary cilia and SHH signaling impairments in human and mouse models of Parkinson’s disease

September 2022

"Parkinson’s disease (PD) as a progressive neurodegenerative disorder arises from multiple genetic and environmental factors. However, underlying pathological mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using multiplexed single-cell transcriptomics, we analyze human neural precursor cells (hNPCs) from sporadic PD (sPD) patients. Alterations in gene expression appear in pathways related to primary cilia (PC). Accordingly, in these hiPSC-derived hNPCs and neurons, we observe a shortening of PC. Additionally, we detect a shortening of PC in PINK1-deficient human cellular and mouse models of familial PD. Furthermore, in sPD models, the shortening of PC is accompanied by increased Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signal transduction. Inhibition of this pathway rescues the alterations in PC morphology and mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, increased SHH activity due to ciliary dysfunction may be required for the development of pathoetiological phenotypes observed in sPD like mitochondrial dysfunction. Inhibiting overactive SHH signaling may be a potential neuroprotective therapy for sPD."

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