Endurance exercise is a potent intervention with widespread benefits proven to reduce disease incidence and impact across species. While endurance exercise supports neural plasticity, enhanced memory, and reduced neurodegeneration, less is known about the effect of chronic exercise on the progression of movement disorders such as ataxias. Here, we focused on three different types of ataxias, Spinocerebellar Ataxias Type (SCAs) 2, 3, and 6, belonging to the polyglutamine (polyQ) family of neurodegenerative disorders. In Drosophila models of these SCAs, flies progressively lose motor function. In this study, we observe marked protection of speed and endurance in exercised SCA2 flies and modest protection in exercised SCA6 models, with no benefit to SCA3 flies. Causative protein levels are reduced in SCA2 flies after chronic exercise, but not in SCA3 models, linking protein levels to exercise-based benefits. Further mechanistic investigation indicates that the exercise-inducible protein, Sestrin (Sesn), suppresses mobility decline and improves early death in SCA2 flies, even without exercise, coincident with disease protein level reduction and increased autophagic flux. These improvements depend on previously established functions of Sesn that reduce oxidative damage and modulate mTOR activity. Our study suggests differential responses of polyQ SCAs to exercise, highlighting the potential for more extensive application of exercise-based therapies in the prevention of polyQ neurodegeneration. Defining the mechanisms by which endurance exercise suppresses polyQ SCAs will open the door for more effective treatment for these diseases.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided for all figures and supplementary information.
- Alyson Sujkowski
- Robert J Wessells
- Robert J Wessells
- Sokol V Todi
- Sokol V Todi
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Harry T Orr, University of Minnesota, United States
- Received: November 8, 2021
- Preprint posted: December 7, 2021 (view preprint)
- Accepted: February 15, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: February 16, 2022 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: February 17, 2022 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: February 24, 2022 (version 3)
- Version of Record updated: March 8, 2022 (version 4)
- Version of Record updated: May 18, 2022 (version 5)
© 2022, Sujkowski et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The synchronization of canonical fast sleep spindle activity (12.5–16 Hz, adult-like) precisely during the slow oscillation (0.5–1 Hz) up peak is considered an essential feature of adult non-rapid eye movement sleep. However, there is little knowledge on how this well-known coalescence between slow oscillations and sleep spindles develops. Leveraging individualized detection of single events, we first provide a detailed cross-sectional characterization of age-specific patterns of slow and fast sleep spindles, slow oscillations, and their coupling in children and adolescents aged 5–6, 8–11, and 14–18 years, and an adult sample of 20- to 26-year-olds. Critically, based on this, we then investigated how spindle and slow oscillation maturity substantiate age-related differences in their precise orchestration. While the predominant type of fast spindles was development-specific in that it was still nested in a frequency range below the canonical fast spindle range for the majority of children, the well-known slow oscillation-spindle coupling pattern was evident for sleep spindles in the adult-like canonical fast spindle range in all four age groups—but notably less precise in children. To corroborate these findings, we linked personalized measures of fast spindle maturity, which indicate the similarity between the prevailing development-specific and adult-like canonical fast spindles, and slow oscillation maturity, which reflects the extent to which slow oscillations show frontal dominance, with individual slow oscillation-spindle coupling patterns. Importantly, we found that fast spindle maturity was uniquely associated with enhanced slow oscillation-spindle coupling strength and temporal precision across the four age groups. Taken together, our results suggest that the increasing ability to generate adult-like canonical fast sleep spindles actuates precise slow oscillation-spindle coupling patterns from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood.
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