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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16801

Title: One-hit Stochastic Decline in a Mechanochemical Model of Cytoskeleton-induced Neuron Death
Authors: Lomasko, Tatiana
Advisor: Lumsden, Charles
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: neuron
programmed cell death
cell death
one-hit model
mutant steady state
cell mechanics
stochastic kinetics
contagious apoptosis
death factor diffusion
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
Abstract: Much experimental evidence shows that the cytoskeleton is a downstream target and effector during cell death in numerous neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's, and Alzheimer's diseases. However, recent evidence indicates that cytoskeletal dysfunction can also trigger neuronal death, by mechanisms as yet poorly understood. We studied a mathematical model of cytoskeleton-induced neuron death in which assembly control of the neuronal cytoskeleton interacts with both cellular stress levels and cytosolic free radical concentrations to trigger neurodegeneration. This trigger mechanism is further modulated by the presence of cell interactions in the form of a diffusible toxic factor released by dying neurons. We found that, consistent with empirical observations, the model produces one-hit exponential and sigmoid patterns of cell dropout. In all cases, cell dropout is exponential-tailed and described accurately by a gamma distribution. The transition between exponential and sigmoidal is gradual, and determined by a synergetic interaction between the magnitude of fluctuations in cytoskeleton assembly control and by the degree of cell coupling. We concluded that a single mechanism involving neuron interactions and fluctuations in cytoskeleton assembly control is compatible with the experimentally observed range of neuronal attrition kinetics. We also studied the transit of neurons through states intermediate between initial viability and cell death. We found that the stochastic flow of neuron fate, from viability to cell death, self-organizes into two distinct temporal phases. There is a rapid relaxation of the initial neuron population to a more disordered phase that is long-lived, or metastable, with respect to the time scales of change in single cells. Strikingly, cellular egress from this metastable phase follows the one-hit kinetic pattern of exponential decline now established as a principal hallmark of cell death in neurodegenerative disorders. Intermediate state metastability may therefore be an important element in the systems biology of one-hit neurodegeneration. Further, we studied the full spatiotemporal dynamics of death factor pulses released from dying neurons to emphasize the effects of the cell-to-cell coupling strength on neuron death rates. The rate of neuron cell loss monotonically increased with increased diffusion-dependent intercellular communication. Death factor diffusion effects may therefore be important moderators of one-hit neurodegeneration.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16801
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Institute of Medical Science - Doctoral theses

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