Potent prion-like behaviors of pathogenic α-synuclein and evaluation of inactivation methods

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The concept that abnormal protein aggregates show prion-like propagation between cells has been considered to explain the onset and progression of many neurodegenerative diseases. Indeed, both synthetic amyloid-like fibrils and pathogenic proteins extracted from patients' brains induce self-templated amplification and cell-to-cell transmission in vitro and in vivo. However, it is unclear whether exposure to exogenous prion-like proteins can potentially cause these diseases in humans. Here, we investigated in detail the prion-like seeding activities of several kinds of pathogenic α-synuclein (α-syn), including synthetic fibrils and detergent-insoluble fractions extracted from brains of patients with α-synucleinopathies. Exposure to synthetic α-syn fibrils at concentrations above 100 pg/mL caused seeded aggregation of α-syn in SH-SY5Y cells, and seeded aggregation was also observed in C57BL/6 J mice after intracerebral inoculation of at least 0.1 μg/animal. α-Syn aggregates extracted from brains of multiple system atrophy (MSA) patients showed higher seeding activity than those extracted from patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and their potency was similar to that of synthetic α-syn fibrils. We also examined the effects of various methods that have been reported to inactivate abnormal prion proteins (PrPSc), including autoclaving at various temperatures, exposure to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and combined treatments. The combination of autoclaving and 1% SDS substantially reduced the seeding activities of synthetic α-syn fibrils and α-syn aggregates extracted from MSA brains. However, single treatment with 1% SDS or generally used sterilization conditions proved insufficient to prevent accumulation of pathological α-syn. In conclusion, α-syn aggregates derived from MSA patients showed a potent prion-like seeding activity, which could be efficiently reduced by combined use of SDS and autoclaving.


  • Acta neuropathologica communications

    Acta neuropathologica communications 6(1), 29, 2018-04

    BioMed Central



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