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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 9, Issue 1, June 2019, Article number 8362

The published version is available at Copyright © Schneider et al.


While GM1 may interact with α-synuclein in vitro to inhibit aggregation, the ability of GM1 to protect against α-synuclein toxicity in vivo has not been investigated. We used targeted adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) overexpression of human mutant α-synuclein (A53T) in the rat substantia nigra (SN) to produce degeneration of SN dopamine neurons, loss of striatal dopamine levels, and behavioral impairment. Some animals received daily GM1 ganglioside administration for 6 weeks, beginning 24 hours after AAV-A53T administration or delayed start GM1 administration for 5 weeks beginning 3 weeks after AAV-A53T administration. Both types of GM1 administration protected against loss of SN dopamine neurons and striatal dopamine levels, reduced α-synuclein aggregation, and delayed start administration of GM1 reversed early appearing behavioral deficits. These results extend prior positive results in MPTP models, are consistent with the results of a small clinical study of GM1 in PD patients that showed slowing of symptom progression with chronic use, and argue for the continued refinement and development of GM1 as a potential disease modifying therapy for PD.

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