Spatially-extended nucleation-aggregation-fragmentation models for the dynamics of prion-like neurodegenerative protein-spreading in the brain and its connectome

Author: 

Fornari, S
Kuhl, E
Schäfer, A
Goriely, A

Publication Date: 

3 December 2019

Journal: 

Journal of Theoretical Biology

Last Updated: 

2020-11-03T10:16:20.043+00:00

Volume: 

486

DOI: 

10.1016/j.jtbi.2019.110102

page: 

110102-

abstract: 

The prion-like hypothesis of neurodegenerative diseases states that the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the form of aggregates is responsible for tissue death and its associated neurodegenerative pathology and cognitive decline. Some disease-specific misfolded proteins can interact with healthy proteins to form long chains that are transported through the brain along axonal pathways. Since aggregates of different sizes have different transport properties and toxicity, it is important to follow independently their evolution in space and time. Here, we model the spreading and propagation of aggregates of misfolded proteins in the brain using the general Smoluchowski theory of nucleation, aggregation, and fragmentation. The transport processes considered here are either anisotropic diffusion along axonal bundles or discrete Laplacian transport along a network. In particular, we model the spreading and aggregation of both amyloid-β and τ molecules in the brain connectome. We show that these two models lead to different size distributions and different propagation along the network. A detailed analysis of these two models also reveals the existence of four different stages with different dynamics and invasive properties.

Symplectic id: 

1075094

Submitted to ORA: 

Submitted

Publication Type: 

Journal Article