Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12414539
Am. J. Pathol. 2002 Nov;161(5):1935-48
Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is a lethal autosomal dominant disorder characterized by systemic extracellular deposition of transthyretin (TTR) amyloid fibrils. Several groups have generated transgenic mice carrying human TTR Val30Met, the most common mutation in FAP. To study amyloidogenicity and cytotoxicity of different TTRs, we produced transgenic mice expressing human TTR Leu55Pro, one of the most aggressive FAP-related mutations. TTR deposition and presence of amyloid fibrils was investigated and compared to animals carrying the human TTR Val30Met gene kept under the same conditions. Deposition in a C57BL/6J background (TTR-Leu55Pro mice) and in a TTR-null background [TTR-Leu55Pro X TTR-knockout (KO) mice] was compared. Animals in a C57BL/6J background presented early (1 to 3 months) nonfibrillar TTR deposition but amyloid was absent. In a TTR-null background, presence of amyloid fibrils was detected starting at 4 to 8 months with a particular involvement of the gastrointestinal tract and skin. This data suggested that TTR homotetramers are more prone to fibril formation than TTR murine wild-type/human mutant heterotetramers. The nature of the deposited material was further investigated by immunocytochemistry. Both amorphous aggregates and small TTR fibrils were present in TTR-Leu55Pro X TTR-KO transgenics. We observed that these TTR deposits mimic the toxic effect of TTR deposits in FAP: animals with TTR deposition, present approximately twofold increased levels of nitrotyrosine in sites related to deposition. The TTR-Leu55Pro X TTR-KO mice here described are an important tool for the dual purpose of investigating factors involved in amyloidogenesis and in cytotoxicity of deposited TTR.