Synergistic stress exacerbation in hippocampal neurons: Evidence favoring the dual-hit hypothesis of neurodegeneration.
In Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, the allocortex accumulates aggregated proteins such as synuclein and tau well before neocortex. We present a new high-throughput model of this topographic difference by microdissecting neocortex and allocortex from the postnatal rat and treating them in parallel fashion with toxins. Allocortical cultures were more vulnerable to low concentrations of the proteasome inhibitors MG132 and PSI but not the oxidative poison H2O2. The proteasome appeared to be more impaired in allocortex because MG132 raised ubiquitin-conjugated proteins and lowered proteasome activity in allocortex more than neocortex. Allocortex cultures were more vulnerable to MG132 despite greater MG132-induced rises in heat shock protein 70, heme oxygenase 1, and catalase. Proteasome subunits PA700 and PA28 were also higher in allocortex cultures, suggesting compensatory adaptations to greater proteasome impairment. Glutathione and ceruloplasmin were not robustly MG132-responsive and were basally higher in neocortical cultures. Notably, neocortex cultures became as vulnerable to MG132 as allocortex when glutathione synthesis or autophagic defenses were inhibited. Conversely, the glutathione precursor N-acetyl cysteine rendered allocortex resilient to MG132. Glutathione and ceruloplasmin levels were then examined in vivo as a function of age because aging is a natural model of proteasome inhibition and oxidative stress. Allocortical glutathione levels rose linearly with age but were similar to neocortex in whole tissue lysates. In contrast, ceruloplasmin levels were strikingly higher in neocortex at all ages and rose linearly until middle age. PA28 levels rose with age and were higher in allocortex in vivo, also paralleling in vitro data. These neo- and allocortical differences have implications for the many studies that treat the telencephalic mantle as a single unit. Our observations suggest that the topographic progression of protein aggregations through the cerebrum may reflect differential responses to low level protein-misfolding stress but also reveal impressive compensatory adaptations in allocortex.