By: Seth Palmer
Cofilin rods are associated with Alzheimer's disease, but until now their pathological significance has been unclear.
This study by Cichon et al. employed time-lapse imaging of rat hippocampal cultures to reveal that cofilin rods disrupt dendritic microtubule integrity, inhibit the movement of mitochondria and early endosomes, reduce dendritic spines and impair synaptic transmission.
The authors found that cofilin rods block intracellular transport and induce synaptic loss — with an inverse relationship between the number of synaptic events and the accumulation of cofilin rods in dendrites — concluding that cofilin aggregation may contribute to neurodegeneration and brain aging, with the presence of cofilin rods serving as a common pathological marker for early stages of neurodegeneration.