The evolution of dystonia-like movements in TOR1A rats after transient nerve injury is accompanied by dopaminergic dysregulation and abnormal oscillatory activity of a central motor network.

Knorr S, Rauschenberger L, Pasos UR, Friedrich MU, Peach RL, Grundmann-Hauser K, Ott T, O'Leary A, Reif A, Tovote P, Volkmann J, Ip CW.
Neurobiol Dis.


TOR1A is the most common inherited form of dystonia with still unclear pathophysiology and reduced penetrance of 30–40%. ∆ETorA rats mimic the TOR1A disease by expression of the human TOR1A mutation without presenting a dystonic phenotype. We aimed to induce dystonia-like symptoms in male ∆ETorA rats by peripheral nerve injury and to identify central mechanism of dystonia development. Dystonia-like movements (DLM) were assessed using the tail suspension test and implementing a pipeline of deep learning applications. Neuron numbers of striatal parvalbumin+, nNOS+, calretinin+, ChAT+ interneurons and Nissl+ cells were estimated by unbiased stereology. Striatal dopaminergic metabolism was analyzed via in vivo microdialysis, qPCR and western blot. Local field potentials (LFP) were recorded from the central motor network. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the entopeduncular nucleus (EP) was performed. Nerve-injured ∆ETorA rats developed long-lasting DLM over 12 weeks. No changes in striatal structure were observed. Dystonic-like ∆ETorA rats presented a higher striatal dopaminergic turnover and stimulus-induced elevation of dopamine efflux compared to the control groups. Higher LFP theta power in the EP of dystonic-like ∆ETorA compared to wt rats was recorded. Chronic EP-DBS over 3 weeks led to improvement of DLM. Our data emphasizes the role of environmental factors in TOR1A symptomatogenesis. LFP analyses indicate that the pathologically enhanced theta power is a physiomarker of DLM. This TOR1A model replicates key features of the human TOR1A pathology on multiple biological levels and is therefore suited for further analysis of dystonia pathomechanism.

Published: Jul 2021