Journal article Open Access

High-content analysis of α-synuclein aggregation and cell death in a cellular model of Parkinson's disease.

Macchi, Francesca; Deleersnijder, Angélique; Van den Haute, Chris; Munck, Sebastien; Pottel, Hans; Michiels, Annelies; Debyser, Zeger; Gerard, Melanie; Baekelandt, Veerle

BACKGROUND: Alpha-synuclein (α-SYN) aggregates represent a key feature of Parkinson's disease, but the exact relationship between α-SYN aggregation and neurodegeneration remains incompletely understood. Therefore, the availability of a cellular assay that allows medium-throughput analysis of α-SYN-linked pathology will be of great value for studying the aggregation process and for advancing α-SYN-based therapies.

NEW METHOD: Here we describe a high-content neuronal cell assay that simultaneously measures oxidative stress-induced α-SYN aggregation and apoptosis.

RESULTS: We optimized an automated and reproducible assay to quantify both α-SYN aggregation and cell death in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells.

COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: Quantification of α-SYN aggregates in cells has typically relied on manual imaging and counting or cell-free assays, which are time consuming and do not allow a concurrent analysis of cell viability. Our high-content analysis method for quantification of α-SYN aggregation allows simultaneous measurements of multiple cell parameters at a single-cell level in a fast, objective and automated manner.

CONCLUSIONS: The presented analysis approach offers a rapid, objective and multiparametric approach for the screening of compounds and genes that might alter α-SYN aggregation and/or toxicity.

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