Astroglia contribute to the pathogenesis of spinocerebellar ataxia Type 1 (SCA1) in a biphasic, stage-of-disease specific manner

Joo Hyun Kim, Abigail Lukowicz, Wenhui Qu, Andrea Johnson, Marija Cvetanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a fatal, dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of CAG repeats in the Ataxin-1 (ATXN1) gene. SCA1 is characterized by balance and coordination deficits due to the predominant loss of Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum. We previously demonstrated that cerebellar astrogliosis beings during the early stages of SCA1, prior to onset of motor deficits and loss of Purkinje neurons. We communicate here that cerebellar astrogliosis contributes to SCA1 pathogenesis in a biphasic, stage of disease dependent manner. We modulated astrogliosis by selectively reducing pro-inflammatory transcriptional regulator nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling in astroglia via a Cre-lox mouse genetic approach. Our results indicate that inhibition of astroglial NF-κB signaling, prior to motor deficit onset, exacerbates disease severity. This is suggestive of a neuroprotective role mediated by astroglia during early stage SCA1. In contrast, inhibition of astroglial NF-κB signaling during late stage of disease ameliorated motor deficits, indicating a potentially harmful role of astroglia late in SCA1. These results indicate that astrogliosis may have a critical and dual role in disease. If so, our results imply that anti-inflammatory astroglia-based therapeutic approaches may need to consider disease progression to achieve therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1972-1987
Number of pages16
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • ATAXIN-1
  • astroglia
  • cerebellum
  • neurodegeneration
  • neurodestructive
  • neuroprotective
  • nuclear factor kappa b


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