Exceptional in vivo catabolism of neurodegeneration-related aggregates

Zsolt Datki, Zita Olah, Tibor Hortobagyi, Lilla Macsai, Katalin Zsuga, Livia Fulop, Zsolt Bozso, Bence Galik, Eva Acs, Angela Foldi, Amanda Szarvas, Janos Kalman

Research output: Article

3 Citations (Scopus)


Neurodegenerative diseases are linked to a systemic enzyme resistance of toxic aggregated molecules and their pathological consequences. This paper presents a unique phenomenon that Philodina acuticornis, a bdelloid rotifer, is able to catabolize different types of neurotoxic peptide and protein aggregates (such as beta-amyloids /Aβ/, alpha-synuclein, and prion) without suffering any damage. P. acuticornis is capable of using these aggregates as an exclusive energy source (i.e., as 'food', identified in the digestive system and body) in a hermetically isolated microdrop environment, increasing their survival. As regards Aβ1-42, five other bdelloid rotifer species were also found to be able to perform this phenomenon. Based on our experiments, the Aβ1-42-treated bdelloid rotifers demonstrate significantly increased survival (e.g. mean lifespan = 51 ± 2.71 days) compared to their untreated controls (e.g. mean lifespan = 14 ± 2.29 days), with similar improvements in a variety of phenotypic characteristics. To our knowledge, no other animal species have so far been reported to have a similar capability. For all other microscopic species tested, including monogonant rotifers and non-rotifers, the treatment with Aβ1-42 aggregates proved to be either toxic or simply ineffective. This paper describes and proves the existence of an unprecedented in vivo catabolic capability of neurotoxic aggregates by bdelloid rotifers, with special focus on P. acuticornis. Our results may provide the basis for a new preclinical perspective on therapeutic research in human neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalZoological Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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