Mutations in the charged multivesicular body protein 2B (CHMP2B) are associated with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and with a mixed ALS–FTD syndrome. To model this syndrome, we generated a transgenic mouse line expressing the human CHMP2Bintron5 mutant in a neuron-specific manner. These mice developed a dose-dependent disease phenotype. A longitudinal study revealed progressive gait abnormalities, reduced muscle strength and decreased motor coordination. CHMP2Bintron5 mice died due to generalized paralysis. When paralyzed, signs of denervation were present as attested by altered electromyographic profiles, by decreased number of fully innervated neuromuscular junctions, by reduction in size of motor endplates and by a decrease of sciatic nerve axons area. However, spinal motor neurons cell bodies were preserved until death. In addition to the motor dysfunctions, CHMP2Bintron5 mice progressively developed FTD-relevant behavioural modifications such as disinhibition, stereotypies, decrease in social interactions, compulsivity and change in dietary preferences. Furthermore, neurons in the affected spinal cord and brain regions showed accumulation of p62-positive cytoplasmic inclusions associated or not with ubiquitin and CHMP2Bintron5. As observed in FTD3 patients, these inclusions were negative for TDP-43 and FUS. Moreover, astrogliosis and microgliosis developed with age. Altogether, these data indicate that the neuronal expression of human CHMP2Bintron5 in areas involved in motor and cognitive functions induces progressive motor alterations associated with dementia symptoms and with histopathological hallmarks reminiscent of both ALS and FTD.

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