In Parkinson's disease (PD) and other α-synucleinopathies, prefibrillar α-synuclein (αS) oligomer is implicated in the pathogenesis. However, toxic αS oligomers observed using in vitro systems are not generally seen to be associated with α-synucleinopathy in vivo. Thus, the pathologic significance of αS oligomers to αS neurotoxicity is unknown. Herein, we show that, αS that accumulate within endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/microsome forms toxic oligomers in mouse and human brain with the α-synucleinopathy. In the mouse model of α-synucleinopathy, αS oligomers initially form before the onset of disease and continue to accumulate with the disease progression. Significantly, treatment of αS transgenic mice with Salubrinal, an anti-ER stress compound that delays the onset of disease, reduces ER accumulation of αS oligomers. These results indicate that αS oligomers with toxic conformation accumulate in ER, and αS oligomerdependent ER stress is pathologically relevant for PD.
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