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Sample records for early huntington disease

  1. Unusual early-onset Huntingtons disease.

    PubMed

    Vargas, Antonio P; Carod-Artal, Francisco J; Bomfim, Denise; Vázquez-Cabrera, Carolina; Dantas-Barbosa, Carmela

    2003-06-01

    Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by involuntary movements, cognitive decline, and behavioral disorders leading to functional disability. In contrast to patients with adult onset, in which chorea is the major motor abnormality, children often present with spasticity, rigidity, and significant intellectual decline associated with a more rapidly progressive course. An unusual early-onset Huntington's disease case of an 11-year-old boy with severe hypokinetic/rigid syndrome appearing at the age of 2.5 years is presented. Clinical diagnosis was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction study of the expanded IT-15 allele with a compatible size of 102 cytosine-adenosine-guanosine repeats L-Dopa mildly ameliorated rigidity, bradykinesia, and dystonia. We conclude that Huntington's disease should be included in the differential diagnoses of regressive syndromes of early childhood.

  2. Huntington's Disease

    MedlinePlus

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away. ... express emotions. If one of your parents has Huntington's disease, you have a 50 percent chance of getting ...

  3. Early Huntington's Disease Affects Movements in Transformed Sensorimotor Mappings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boulet, C.; Lemay, M.; Bedard, M.A.; Chouinard, M.J.; Chouinard, S.; Richer, F.

    2005-01-01

    This study examined the effect of transformed visual feedback on movement control in Huntington's disease (HD). Patients in the early stages of HD and controls performed aiming movements towards peripheral targets on a digitizing tablet and emphasizing precision. In a baseline condition, HD patients were slower but showed few precision problems in…

  4. Informativeness of Early Huntington Disease Signs about Gene Status.

    PubMed

    Oster, Emily; Eberly, Shirley W; Dorsey, E Ray; Kayson-Rubin, Elise; Oakes, David; Shoulson, Ira

    2015-01-01

    The cohort-level risk of Huntington disease (HD) is related to the age and symptom level of the cohort, but this relationship has not been made precise. To predict the evolving likelihood of carrying the Huntington disease (HD) gene for at-risk adults using age and sign level. Using data from adults with early signs and symptoms of HD linked to information on genetic status, we use Bayes' theorem to calculate the probability that an undiagnosed individual of a certain age and sign level has an expanded CAG repeat. Both age and sign levels have substantial influence on the likelihood of HD onset, and the probability of eventual diagnosis changes as those at risk age and exhibit (or fail to exhibit) symptoms. For example, our data suggest that in a cohort of individuals age 26 with a Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) motor score of 7-10 70% of them will carry the HD mutation. For individuals age 56, the same motor score suggests only a 40% chance of carrying the mutation. Early motor signs of HD, overall and the chorea subscore, were highly predictive of disease onset at any age. However, body mass index (BMI) and cognitive performance scores were not as highly predictive. These results suggest that if researchers or clinicians are looking for early clues of HD, it may be more foretelling to look at motor rather than cognitive signs. Application of similar approaches could be used with other adult-onset genetic conditions.

  5. Huntington disease

    MedlinePlus

    ... recommend genetic counseling for couples with a family history of this disease who are considering having ... St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016: ...

  6. Cardiac Dysautonomia in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Abildtrup, Mads; Shattock, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease is a fatal, hereditary, neurodegenerative disorder best known for its clinical triad of progressive motor impairment, cognitive deficits and psychiatric disturbances. Although a disease of the central nervous system, mortality surveys indicate that heart disease is a leading cause of death. The nature of such cardiac abnormalities remains unknown. Clinical findings indicate a high prevalence of autonomic nervous system dysfunction - dysautonomia - which may be a result of pathology of the central autonomic network. Dysautonomia can have profound effects on cardiac health, and pronounced autonomic dysfunction can be associated with neurogenic arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Significant advances in the knowledge of neural mechanisms in cardiac disease have recently been made which further aid our understanding of cardiac mortality in Huntington's disease. Even so, despite the evidence of aberrant autonomic activity the potential cardiac consequences of autonomic dysfunction have been somewhat ignored. In fact, underlying cardiac abnormalities such as arrhythmias have been part of the exclusion criteria in clinical autonomic Huntington's disease research. A comprehensive analysis of cardiac function in Huntington's disease patients is warranted. Further experimental and clinical studies are needed to clarify how the autonomic nervous system is controlled and regulated in higher, central areas of the brain - and how these regions may be altered in neurological pathology, such as Huntington's disease. Ultimately, research will hopefully result in an improvement of management with the aim of preventing early death in Huntington's disease from cardiac causes.

  7. Speech acoustic markers of early stage and prodromal Huntington's disease: a marker of disease onset?

    PubMed

    Vogel, Adam P; Shirbin, Christopher; Churchyard, Andrew J; Stout, Julie C

    2012-12-01

    Speech disturbances (e.g., altered prosody) have been described in symptomatic Huntington's Disease (HD) individuals, however, the extent to which speech changes in gene positive pre-manifest (PreHD) individuals is largely unknown. The speech of individuals carrying the mutant HTT gene is a behavioural/motor/cognitive marker demonstrating some potential as an objective indicator of early HD onset and disease progression. Speech samples were acquired from 30 individuals carrying the mutant HTT gene (13 PreHD, 17 early stage HD) and 15 matched controls. Participants read a passage, produced a monologue and said the days of the week. Data were analysed acoustically for measures of timing, frequency and intensity. There was a clear effect of group across most acoustic measures, so that speech performance differed in-line with disease progression. Comparisons across groups revealed significant differences between the control and the early stage HD group on measures of timing (e.g., speech rate). Participants carrying the mutant HTT gene presented with slower rates of speech, took longer to say words and produced greater silences between and within words compared to healthy controls. Importantly, speech rate showed a significant correlation to burden of disease scores. The speech of early stage HD differed significantly from controls. The speech of PreHD, although not reaching significance, tended to lie between the performance of controls and early stage HD. This suggests that changes in speech production appear to be developing prior to diagnosis. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Huntington Disease: A Case Study of Early Onset Presenting as Depression

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Duesterhus, Pia; Schimmelmann, Benno Graf; Wittkugel, Oliver; Schulte-Markwort, Michael

    2004-01-01

    Huntington disease is a dominantly inherited, neurodegenerative disease characterized by choreiform movement disturbances and dementia, usually with adult onset. The rare juvenile-onset Huntington disease differs from the adult phenotype. A case presenting twice, at age 10 with all the signs of a major depression and age 14 with mutism and…

  9. The role of the striatum in rule application: the model of Huntington's disease at early stage.

    PubMed

    Teichmann, Marc; Dupoux, Emmanuel; Kouider, Sid; Brugières, Pierre; Boissé, Marie-Françoise; Baudic, Sophie; Cesaro, Pierre; Peschanski, Marc; Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine

    2005-05-01

    The role of the basal ganglia, and more specifically of the striatum, in language is still debated. Recent studies have proposed that linguistic abilities involve two distinct types of processes: the retrieving of stored information, implicating temporal lobe areas, and the application of combinatorial rules, implicating fronto-striatal circuits. Studies of patients with focal lesions and neurodegenerative diseases have suggested a role for the striatum in morphological rule application, but functional imaging studies found that the left caudate was involved in syntactic processing and not morphological processing. In the present study, we tested the view that the basal ganglia are involved in rule application and not in lexical retrieving in a model of striatal dysfunction, namely Huntington's disease at early stages. We assessed the rule-lexicon dichotomy in the linguistic domain with morphology (conjugation of non-verbs and verbs) and syntax (sentence comprehension) and in a non-linguistic domain with arithmetic operations (subtraction and multiplication). Thirty Huntington's disease patients (15 at stage I and 15 at stage II) and 20 controls matched for their age and cultural level were included in this study. Huntington's disease patients were also assessed using the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) and MRI. We found that early Huntington's disease patients were impaired in rule application in the linguistic and non-linguistic domains (morphology, syntax and subtraction), whereas they were broadly spared with lexical processing. The pattern of performance was similar in patients at stage I and stage II, except that stage II patients were more impaired in all tasks assessing rules and had in addition a very slight impairment in the lexical condition of conjugation. Finally, syntactic rule abilities correlated with all markers of the disease evolution including bicaudate ratio and performance in executive function, whereas there was no

  10. Huntington's disease in Tanzania.

    PubMed Central

    Scrimgeour, E M

    1981-01-01

    Huntington's disease was studied in a Bantu community in northern Tanzania. Although there is evidence to suggest that the disease has been present here for over one hundred years, this is the first report of the condition in Tanzania. A survey of published reports indicates that the disease is infrequently reported in persons of Negro ancestry. PMID:6453998

  11. R6/2 Huntington's disease mice develop early and progressive abnormal brain metabolism and seizures.

    PubMed

    Cepeda-Prado, Efrain; Popp, Susanna; Khan, Usman; Stefanov, Dimitre; Rodríguez, Jorge; Menalled, Liliana B; Dow-Edwards, Diana; Small, Scott A; Moreno, Herman

    2012-05-09

    A hallmark feature of Huntington's disease pathology is the atrophy of brain regions including, but not limited to, the striatum. Though MRI studies have identified structural CNS changes in several Huntington's disease (HD) mouse models, the functional consequences of HD pathology during the progression of the disease have yet to be investigated using in vivo functional MRI (fMRI). To address this issue, we first established the structural and functional MRI phenotype of juvenile HD mouse model R6/2 at early and advanced stages of disease. Significantly higher fMRI signals [relative cerebral blood volumes (rCBVs)] and atrophy were observed in both age groups in specific brain regions. Next, fMRI results were correlated with electrophysiological analysis, which showed abnormal increases in neuronal activity in affected brain regions, thus identifying a mechanism accounting for the abnormal fMRI findings. [(14)C] 2-deoxyglucose maps to investigate patterns of glucose utilization were also generated. An interesting mismatch between increases in rCBV and decreases in glucose uptake was observed. Finally, we evaluated the sensitivity of this mouse line to audiogenic seizures early in the disease course. We found that R6/2 mice had an increased susceptibility to develop seizures. Together, these findings identified seizure activity in R6/2 mice and show that neuroimaging measures sensitive to oxygen metabolism can be used as in vivo biomarkers, preceding the onset of an overt behavioral phenotype. Since fMRI-rCBV can also be obtained in patients, we propose that it may serve as a translational tool to evaluate therapeutic responses in humans and HD mouse models.

  12. Huntington’s Disease

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-05-01

    testing due to the inheritance pattern of the disease. The airman’s father and brother were both negative for the Huntington gene; however, both the...airman and his mother were found to be positive and underwent further genetic counseling. The airman had discussed the results and his concern with his...but modern genetic testing can now detect the defect in the HTT allele of chromosome #4.3 In affected individuals, errors in DNA replication occur

  13. Evaluation of longitudinal 12 and 24 month cognitive outcomes in premanifest and early Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Stout, Julie C; Jones, Rebecca; Labuschagne, Izelle; O'Regan, Alison M; Say, Miranda J; Dumas, Eve M; Queller, Sarah; Justo, Damian; Santos, Rachelle Dar; Coleman, Allison; Hart, Ellen P; Dürr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund A; Langbehn, Doug R; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Frost, Chris

    2012-07-01

    Deterioration of cognitive functioning is a debilitating symptom in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington's disease (HD). To date, there are no effective treatments for the cognitive problems associated with HD. Cognitive assessment outcomes will have a central role in the efforts to develop treatments to delay onset or slow the progression of the disease. The TRACK-HD study was designed to build a rational basis for the selection of cognitive outcomes for HD clinical trials. There were a total of 349 participants, including controls (n=116), premanifest HD (n=117) and early HD (n=116). A standardised cognitive assessment battery (including nine cognitive tests comprising 12 outcome measures) was administered at baseline, and at 12 and 24 months, and consisted of a combination of paper and pencil and computerised tasks selected to be sensitive to cortical-striatal damage or HD. Each cognitive outcome was analysed separately using a generalised least squares regression model. Results are expressed as effect sizes to permit comparisons between tasks. 10 of the 12 cognitive outcomes showed evidence of deterioration in the early HD group, relative to controls, over 24 months, with greatest sensitivity in Symbol Digit, Circle Tracing direct and indirect, and Stroop word reading. In contrast, there was very little evidence of deterioration in the premanifest HD group relative to controls. The findings describe tests that are sensitive to longitudinal cognitive change in HD and elucidate important considerations for selecting cognitive outcomes for clinical trials of compounds aimed at ameliorating cognitive decline in HD.

  14. Abnormal resting-state connectivity of motor and cognitive networks in early manifest Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Wolf, R C; Sambataro, F; Vasic, N; Depping, M S; Thomann, P A; Landwehrmeyer, G B; Süssmuth, S D; Orth, M

    2014-11-01

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of multiple neural networks during the brain's 'resting state' could facilitate biomarker development in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) and may provide new insights into the relationship between neural dysfunction and clinical symptoms. To date, however, very few studies have examined the functional integrity of multiple resting state networks (RSNs) in manifest HD, and even less is known about whether concomitant brain atrophy affects neural activity in patients. Using MRI, we investigated brain structure and RSN function in patients with early HD (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20). For resting-state fMRI data a group-independent component analysis identified spatiotemporally distinct patterns of motor and prefrontal RSNs of interest. We used voxel-based morphometry to assess regional brain atrophy, and 'biological parametric mapping' analyses to investigate the impact of atrophy on neural activity. Compared with controls, patients showed connectivity changes within distinct neural systems including lateral prefrontal, supplementary motor, thalamic, cingulate, temporal and parietal regions. In patients, supplementary motor area and cingulate cortex connectivity indices were associated with measures of motor function, whereas lateral prefrontal connectivity was associated with cognition. This study provides evidence for aberrant connectivity of RSNs associated with motor function and cognition in early manifest HD when controlling for brain atrophy. This suggests clinically relevant changes of RSN activity in the presence of HD-associated cortical and subcortical structural abnormalities.

  15. Motor-cognitive dual-task deficits in individuals with early-mid stage Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Nora E; Hamana, Katy; Kelson, Mark; Rosser, Anne; Busse, Monica; Quinn, Lori

    2016-09-01

    Huntington disease (HD) results in a range of cognitive and motor impairments that progress throughout the disease stages; however, little research has evaluated specific dual-task abilities in this population, and the degree to which they may be related to functional ability. The purpose of this study was to a) examine simple and complex motor-cognitive dual-task performance in individuals with HD, b) determine relationships between dual-task walking ability and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability, and c) examine the relationship of dual-task measures to falls in individuals with HD. Thirty-two individuals with HD were evaluated for simple and complex dual-task ability using the Walking While Talking Test. Demographics and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability were also obtained. Individuals with HD had impairments in simple and complex dual-task ability. Simple dual-task walking was correlated to disease-specific motor scores as well as cognitive performance, but complex dual-task walking was correlated with total functional capacity, as well as a range of cognitive measures. Number of prospective falls was moderately-strongly correlated to dual-task measures. Our results suggest that individuals with HD have impairments in cognitive-motor dual-task ability that are related to disease progression and specifically functional ability. Dual-task measures appear to evaluate a unique construct in individuals with early to mid-stage HD, and may have value in improving the prediction of falls risk in this population. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Cognitive function in early clinical phase huntington disease after rivastigmine treatment.

    PubMed

    Sešok, Sanja; Bolle, Nika; Kobal, Jan; Bucik, Valentin; Vodušek, David B

    2014-09-01

    In Huntington disease (HD) patients receiving rivastigmine treatment improvement of behavioral symptoms and of cognitive function (assessed with screening diagnostic instruments) has been reported. The aim of the present study was to verify such improvement in cognitive function by cognitive function assessment with a detailed neuropsychological battery covering all relevant cognitive systems expected to be impaired in early phase HD. Eighteen (18) HD patients entered the study and were randomly allocated to the rivastigmine and placebo group. All subjects underwent neuropsychological assessment at baseline. Follow-up neuropsychological assessment was applied after 6 months of rivastigmine or placebo treatment. Eighteen (18) healthy controls entered the study to control for practice effect and underwent neuropsychological assessment at baseline and after 6 months, without treatment. The neuropsychological battery consisted of assessment tools that are sensitive to cognitive impairment seen in early phase HD: CTMT, SDMT, Stroop (attention and information control), RFFT, TOL, Verbal fluency (executive functioning), CVLT-II, RCFT (learning and memory). Effect of rivastigmine and possible effect of practice was assessed using the mixed ANOVA model. No statistically significant effect of rivastigmine treatment on cognitive function in HD patients was detected. There was no evidence for practice or placebo effect. Detailed neuropsychological assessment did not confirm previously reported effect of rivastigmine treatment on cognitive function in HD patients. The limitations of our study are, in particular, small sample size and the lack of a single measure of relevant cognitive functioning in HD patients. Instead of focusing solely on statistical significance, a clinical relevance study is proposed to clarify the issue of rivastigmine effects in HD.

  17. Early Alterations of Brain Cellular Energy Homeostasis in Huntington Disease Models*

    PubMed Central

    Mochel, Fanny; Durant, Brandon; Meng, Xingli; O'Callaghan, James; Yu, Hua; Brouillet, Emmanuel; Wheeler, Vanessa C.; Humbert, Sandrine; Schiffmann, Raphael; Durr, Alexandra

    2012-01-01

    Brain energy deficit has been a suggested cause of Huntington disease (HD), but ATP depletion has not reliably been shown in preclinical models, possibly because of the immediate post-mortem changes in cellular energy metabolism. To examine a potential role of a low energy state in HD, we measured, for the first time in a neurodegenerative model, brain levels of high energy phosphates using microwave fixation, which instantaneously inactivates brain enzymatic activities and preserves in vivo levels of analytes. We studied HD transgenic R6/2 mice at ages 4, 8, and 12 weeks. We found significantly increased creatine and phosphocreatine, present as early as 4 weeks for phosphocreatine, preceding motor system deficits and decreased ATP levels in striatum, hippocampus, and frontal cortex of R6/2 mice. ATP and phosphocreatine concentrations were inversely correlated with the number of CAG repeats. Conversely, in mice injected with 3-nitroproprionic acid, an acute model of brain energy deficit, both ATP and phosphocreatine were significantly reduced. Increased creatine and phosphocreatine in R6/2 mice was associated with decreased guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase and creatine kinase, both at the protein and RNA levels, and increased phosphorylated AMP-dependent protein kinase (pAMPK) over AMPK ratio. In addition, in 4-month-old knock-in HdhQ111/+ mice, the earliest metabolic alterations consisted of increased phosphocreatine in the frontal cortex and increased the pAMPK/AMPK ratio. Altogether, this study provides the first direct evidence of chronic alteration in homeostasis of high energy phosphates in HD models in the earliest stages of the disease, indicating possible reduced utilization of the brain phosphocreatine pool. PMID:22123819

  18. Early Deficits in Glycolysis Are Specific to Striatal Neurons from a Rat Model of Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Gouarné, Caroline; Tardif, Gwenaëlle; Tracz, Jennifer; Latyszenok, Virginie; Michaud, Magali; Clemens, Laura Emily; Yu-Taeger, Libo; Nguyen, Huu Phuc; Bordet, Thierry; Pruss, Rebecca M.

    2013-01-01

    In Huntington disease (HD), there is increasing evidence for a link between mutant huntingtin expression, mitochondrial dysfunction, energetic deficits and neurodegeneration but the precise nature, causes and order of these events remain to be determined. In this work, our objective was to evaluate mitochondrial respiratory function in intact, non-permeabilized, neurons derived from a transgenic rat model for HD compared to their wild type littermates by measuring oxygen consumption rates and extracellular acidification rates. Although HD striatal neurons had similar respiratory capacity as those from their wild-type littermates when they were incubated in rich medium containing a supra-physiological glucose concentration (25 mM), pyruvate and amino acids, respiratory defects emerged when cells were incubated in media containing only a physiological cerebral level of glucose (2.5 mM). According to the concept that glucose is not the sole substrate used by the brain for neuronal energy production, we provide evidence that primary neurons can use lactate as well as pyruvate to fuel the mitochondrial respiratory chain. In contrast to glucose, we found no major deficits in HD striatal neurons’ capacity to use pyruvate as a respiratory substrate compared to wild type littermates. Additionally, we used extracellular acidification rates to confirm a reduction in anaerobic glycolysis in the same cells. Interestingly, the metabolic disturbances observed in striatal neurons were not seen in primary cortical neurons, a brain region affected in later stages of HD. In conclusion, our results argue for a dysfunction in glycolysis, which might precede any defects in the respiratory chain itself, and these are early events in the onset of disease. PMID:24303051

  19. Early grey matter changes in structural covariance networks in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Coppen, Emma M; van der Grond, Jeroen; Hafkemeijer, Anne; Rombouts, Serge A R B; Roos, Raymund A C

    2016-01-01

    Progressive subcortical changes are known to occur in Huntington's disease (HD), a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. Less is known about the occurrence and cohesion of whole brain grey matter changes in HD. We aimed to detect network integrity changes in grey matter structural covariance networks and examined relationships with clinical assessments. Structural magnetic resonance imaging data of premanifest HD ( n  = 30), HD patients (n = 30) and controls (n = 30) was used to identify ten structural covariance networks based on a novel technique using the co-variation of grey matter with independent component analysis in FSL. Group differences were studied controlling for age and gender. To explore whether our approach is effective in examining grey matter changes, regional voxel-based analysis was additionally performed. Premanifest HD and HD patients showed decreased network integrity in two networks compared to controls. One network included the caudate nucleus, precuneous and anterior cingulate cortex (in HD p  < 0.001, in pre-HD p  = 0.003). One other network contained the hippocampus, premotor, sensorimotor, and insular cortices (in HD p  < 0.001, in pre-HD p  = 0.023). Additionally, in HD patients only, decreased network integrity was observed in a network including the lingual gyrus, intracalcarine, cuneal, and lateral occipital cortices ( p  = 0.032). Changes in network integrity were significantly associated with scores of motor and neuropsychological assessments. In premanifest HD, voxel-based analyses showed pronounced volume loss in the basal ganglia, but less prominent in cortical regions. Our results suggest that structural covariance might be a sensitive approach to reveal early grey matter changes, especially for premanifest HD.

  20. Epigenetics of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Bassi, Silvia; Tripathi, Takshashila; Monziani, Alan; Di Leva, Francesca; Biagioli, Marta

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic, fatal autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder typically occurring in midlife with symptoms ranging from chorea, to dementia, to personality disturbances (Philos Trans R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci 354:957-961, 1999). HD is inherited in a dominant fashion, and the underlying mutation in all cases is a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion within exon 1 of the HD gene (Cell 72:971-983, 1993). The expanded CAG repeat, translated into a lengthened glutamine tract at the amino terminus of the huntingtin protein, affects its structural properties and functional activities. The effects are pleiotropic, as huntingtin is broadly expressed in different cellular compartments (i.e., cytosol, nucleus, mitochondria) as well as in all cell types of the body at all developmental stages, such that HD pathogenesis likely starts at conception and is a lifelong process (Front Neurosci 9:509, 2015). The rate-limiting mechanism(s) of neurodegeneration in HD still remains elusive: many different processes are commonly disrupted in HD cell lines and animal models, as well as in HD patient cells (Eur J Neurosci 27:2803-2820, 2008); however, epigenetic-chromatin deregulation, as determined by the analysis of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNAs, has now become a prevailing feature. Thus, the overarching goal of this chapter is to discuss the current status of the literature, reviewing how an aberrant epigenetic landscape can contribute to altered gene expression and neuronal dysfunction in HD.

  1. Time perception impairment in early-to-moderate stages of Huntington's disease is related to memory deficits.

    PubMed

    Righi, Stefania; Galli, Luca; Paganini, Marco; Bertini, Elisabetta; Viggiano, Maria Pia; Piacentini, Silvia

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) primarily affects striatum and prefrontal dopaminergic circuits which are fundamental neural correlates of the timekeeping mechanism. The few studies on HD mainly investigated motor timing performance in second durations. The present work explored time perception in early-to-moderate symptomatic HD patients for seconds and milliseconds with the aim to clarify which component of the scalar expectancy theory (SET) is mainly responsible for HD timing defect. Eleven HD patients were compared to 11 controls employing two separate temporal bisection tasks in second and millisecond ranges. Our results revealed the same time perception deficits for seconds and milliseconds in HD patients. Time perception impairment in early-to-moderate stages of Huntington's disease is related to memory deficits. Furthermore, both the non-systematical defect of temporal sensitivity and the main impairment of timing performance in the extreme value of the psychophysical curves suggested an HD deficit in the memory component of the SET. This result was further confirmed by the significant correlations between time perception performance and long-term memory test scores. Our findings added important preliminary data for both a deeper comprehension of HD time-keeping deficits and possible implications on neuro-rehabilitation practices.

  2. Is Huntington's disease a tauopathy?

    PubMed

    Gratuze, Maud; Cisbani, Giulia; Cicchetti, Francesca; Planel, Emmanuel

    2016-04-01

    Tauopathies are a subclass of neurodegenerative diseases typified by the deposition of abnormal microtubule-associated tau protein within the cerebral tissue. Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and some fronto-temporal dementias are examples of the extended family of tauopathies. In the last decades, intermittent reports of cerebral tau pathology in individuals afflicted with Huntington's disease-an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder that manifests by severe motor, cognitive and psychiatric problems in adulthood-have also begun to surface. These observations remained anecdotal until recently when a series of publications brought forward compelling evidence that this monogenic disorder may, too, be a tauopathy. Collectively, these studies reported that: (i) patients with Huntington's disease present aggregated tau inclusions within various structures of the brain; (ii) tau haplotype influences the cognitive function of Huntington's disease patients; and (iii) that the genetic product of the disease, the mutant huntingtin protein, could alter tau splicing, phosphorylation, oligomerization and subcellular localization. Here, we review the past and current evidence in favour of the postulate that Huntington's disease is a new member of the family of tauopathies. © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  3. PET Imaging in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Roussakis, Andreas-Antonios; Piccini, Paola

    2015-01-01

    To date, little is known about how neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation propagate in Huntington's disease (HD). Unfortunately, no treatment is available to cure or reverse the progressive decline of function caused by the disease, thus considering HD a fatal disease. Mutation gene carriers typically remain asymptomatic for many years although alterations in the basal ganglia and cortex occur early on in mutant HD gene-carriers. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a functional imaging technique of nuclear medicine which enables in vivo visualization of numerous biological molecules expressed in several human tissues. Brain PET is most powerful to study in vivo neuronal and glial cells function as well as cerebral blood flow in a plethora of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and HD. In absence of HD-specific biomarkers for monitoring disease progression, previous PET studies in HD were merely focused on the study of dopaminergic terminals, cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in manifest and premanifest HD-gene carriers. More recently, research interest has been exploring novel PET targets in HD including the state of phosphodiesterse expression and the role of activated microglia. Hence, a better understanding of the HD pathogenesis mechanisms may lead to the development of targeted therapies. PET imaging follow-up studies with novel selective PET radiotracers such as 11C-IMA-107 and 11C-PBR28 may provide insight on disease progression and identify prognostic biomarkers, elucidate the underlying HD pathology and assess novel pharmaceutical agents and over time.

  4. Early Huntington's Disease: Impulse Control Deficits but Correct Judgment Regarding Risky Situations.

    PubMed

    Galvez, Victor; Fernandez-Ruiz, Juan; Bayliss, Leo; Ochoa-Morales, Adriana; Hernandez-Castillo, Carlos R; Díaz, Rosalinda; Campos-Romo, Aurelio

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) patients show alterations in decision making tasks. However, it is still uncertain if these deficits are due to poor judgment regarding risky situations, or to impulse control deficits. To elucidate whether decision-making in patients is related to genuine risk behavior or to impulse control deficits. To test between these two alternative possibilities, we evaluated the performance of 19 prodromal HD patients and 19 matched healthy controls in the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT). This task assesses decision-making while dissociating between genuine risk-taking behaviors (ascending condition) from impulsive behavior (descending condition). The results showed that patients and controls had the same performance during all trials in the ascending condition, reflecting a correct judgment regarding risky situations; however, during the descending condition, patients responded before the controls in all trials, making a significantly larger number of higher bets. Unlike the control group, they did not wait for more optimal subsequent options. These results suggest impulse control deficits in HD gene carriers, but unimpaired risk-taking judgment.

  5. Early Detection of Apathetic Phenotypes in Huntington's Disease Knock-in Mice Using Open Source Tools.

    PubMed

    Minnig, Shawn; Bragg, Robert M; Tiwana, Hardeep S; Solem, Wes T; Hovander, William S; Vik, Eva-Mari S; Hamilton, Madeline; Legg, Samuel R W; Shuttleworth, Dominic D; Coffey, Sydney R; Cantle, Jeffrey P; Carroll, Jeffrey B

    2018-02-02

    Apathy is one of the most prevalent and progressive psychiatric symptoms in Huntington's disease (HD) patients. However, preclinical work in HD mouse models tends to focus on molecular and motor, rather than affective, phenotypes. Measuring behavior in mice often produces noisy data and requires large cohorts to detect phenotypic rescue with appropriate power. The operant equipment necessary for measuring affective phenotypes is typically expensive, proprietary to commercial entities, and bulky which can render adequately sized mouse cohorts as cost-prohibitive. Thus, we describe here a home-built, open-source alternative to commercial hardware that is reliable, scalable, and reproducible. Using off-the-shelf hardware, we adapted and built several of the rodent operant buckets (ROBucket) to test Htt Q111/+ mice for attention deficits in fixed ratio (FR) and progressive ratio (PR) tasks. We find that, despite normal performance in reward attainment in the FR task, Htt Q111/+ mice exhibit reduced PR performance at 9-11 months of age, suggesting motivational deficits. We replicated this in two independent cohorts, demonstrating the reliability and utility of both the apathetic phenotype, and these ROBuckets, for preclinical HD studies.

  6. Implicit contextual learning in prodromal and early stage Huntington's disease patients.

    PubMed

    van Asselen, Marieke; Almeida, Inês; Júlio, Filipa; Januário, Cristina; Campos, Elzbieta Bobrowicz; Simões, Mário; Castelo-Branco, Miguel

    2012-07-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder affecting the basal ganglia. These subcortical structures are particularly important for motor functions, response selection and implicit learning. In the current study, we have assessed prodromal and symptomatic HD participants with an implicit contextual learning task that is not based on motor learning, but on a purely visual implicit learning mechanism. We used an implicit contextual learning task in which subjects need to locate a target among several distractors. In half of the trials, the positions of the distractors and target stimuli were repeated. By memorizing this contextual information, attention can be guided faster to the target stimulus. Nine symptomatic HD participants, 16 prodromal HD participants and 22 control subjects were included. We found that the responses of the control subjects were faster for the repeated trials than for the new trials, indicating that their visual search was facilitated when repeated contextual information was present. In contrast, no difference in response times between the repeated and new trials was found for the symptomatic and prodromal HD participants. The results of the current study indicate that both prodromal and symptomatic HD participants are impaired on an implicit contextual learning task.

  7. Inactivation of the Huntington's disease gene (Hdh) impairs anterior streak formation and early patterning of the mouse embryo

    PubMed Central

    Woda, Juliana M; Calzonetti, Teresa; Hilditch-Maguire, Paige; Duyao, Mabel P; Conlon, Ronald A; MacDonald, Marcy E

    2005-01-01

    Background Huntingtin, the HD gene encoded protein mutated by polyglutamine expansion in Huntington's disease, is required in extraembryonic tissues for proper gastrulation, implicating its activities in nutrition or patterning of the developing embryo. To test these possibilities, we have used whole mount in situ hybridization to examine embryonic patterning and morphogenesis in homozygous Hdhex4/5 huntingtin deficient embryos. Results In the absence of huntingtin, expression of nutritive genes appears normal but E7.0–7.5 embryos exhibit a unique combination of patterning defects. Notable are a shortened primitive streak, absence of a proper node and diminished production of anterior streak derivatives. Reduced Wnt3a, Tbx6 and Dll1 expression signify decreased paraxial mesoderm and reduced Otx2 expression and lack of headfolds denote a failure of head development. In addition, genes initially broadly expressed are not properly restricted to the posterior, as evidenced by the ectopic expression of Nodal, Fgf8 and Gsc in the epiblast and T (Brachyury) and Evx1 in proximal mesoderm derivatives. Despite impaired posterior restriction and anterior streak deficits, overall anterior/posterior polarity is established. A single primitive streak forms and marker expression shows that the anterior epiblast and anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) are specified. Conclusion Huntingtin is essential in the early patterning of the embryo for formation of the anterior region of the primitive streak, and for down-regulation of a subset of dynamic growth and transcription factor genes. These findings provide fundamental starting points for identifying the novel cellular and molecular activities of huntingtin in the extraembryonic tissues that govern normal anterior streak development. This knowledge may prove to be important for understanding the mechanism by which the dominant polyglutamine expansion in huntingtin determines the loss of neurons in Huntington's disease. PMID:16109169

  8. Inactivation of the Huntington's disease gene (Hdh) impairs anterior streak formation and early patterning of the mouse embryo.

    PubMed

    Woda, Juliana M; Calzonetti, Teresa; Hilditch-Maguire, Paige; Duyao, Mabel P; Conlon, Ronald A; MacDonald, Marcy E

    2005-08-18

    Huntingtin, the HD gene encoded protein mutated by polyglutamine expansion in Huntington's disease, is required in extraembryonic tissues for proper gastrulation, implicating its activities in nutrition or patterning of the developing embryo. To test these possibilities, we have used whole mount in situ hybridization to examine embryonic patterning and morphogenesis in homozygous Hdh(ex4/5) huntingtin deficient embryos. In the absence of huntingtin, expression of nutritive genes appears normal but E7.0-7.5 embryos exhibit a unique combination of patterning defects. Notable are a shortened primitive streak, absence of a proper node and diminished production of anterior streak derivatives. Reduced Wnt3a, Tbx6 and Dll1 expression signify decreased paraxial mesoderm and reduced Otx2 expression and lack of headfolds denote a failure of head development. In addition, genes initially broadly expressed are not properly restricted to the posterior, as evidenced by the ectopic expression of Nodal, Fgf8 and Gsc in the epiblast and T (Brachyury) and Evx1 in proximal mesoderm derivatives. Despite impaired posterior restriction and anterior streak deficits, overall anterior/posterior polarity is established. A single primitive streak forms and marker expression shows that the anterior epiblast and anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) are specified. Huntingtin is essential in the early patterning of the embryo for formation of the anterior region of the primitive streak, and for down-regulation of a subset of dynamic growth and transcription factor genes. These findings provide fundamental starting points for identifying the novel cellular and molecular activities of huntingtin in the extraembryonic tissues that govern normal anterior streak development. This knowledge may prove to be important for understanding the mechanism by which the dominant polyglutamine expansion in huntingtin determines the loss of neurons in Huntington's disease.

  9. Impairment of blood-brain barrier is an early event in R6/2 mouse model of Huntington Disease.

    PubMed

    Di Pardo, Alba; Amico, Enrico; Scalabrì, Francesco; Pepe, Giuseppe; Castaldo, Salvatore; Elifani, Francesca; Capocci, Luca; De Sanctis, Claudia; Comerci, Laura; Pompeo, Francesco; D'Esposito, Maurizio; Filosa, Stefania; Crispi, Stefania; Maglione, Vittorio

    2017-01-24

    Blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, due to the concomitant disruption of the tight junctions (TJs), normally required for the maintenance of BBB function, and to the altered transport of molecules between blood and brain and vice-versa, has been suggested to significantly contribute to the development and progression of different brain disorders including Huntington's disease (HD). Although the detrimental consequence the BBB breakdown may have in the clinical settings, the timing of its alteration remains elusive for many neurodegenerative diseases. In this study we demonstrate for the first time that BBB disruption in HD is not confined to established symptoms, but occurs early in the disease progression. Despite the obvious signs of impaired BBB permeability were only detectable in concomitance with the onset of the disease, signs of deranged TJs integrity occur precociously in the disease and precede the onset of overt symptoms. To our perspective this finding may add a new dimension to the horizons of pathological mechanisms underlying this devastating disease, however much remains to be elucidated for understanding how specific BBB drug targets can be approached in the future.

  10. Earliest functional declines in Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Beglinger, Leigh J.; O'Rourke, Justin J.F.; Wang, Chiachi; Langbehn, Douglas R.; Duff, Kevin; Paulsen, Jane S.

    2013-01-01

    We examined the gold standard for Huntington disease (HD) functional assessment, the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), in a group of at-risk participants not yet diagnosed but who later phenoconverted to manifest HD. We also sought to determine which skill domains first weaken and the clinical correlates of declines. Using the UHDRS Total Functional Capacity (TFC) and Functional Assessment Scale (FAS), we examined participants from Huntington Study Group clinics who were not diagnosed at their baseline visit but were diagnosed at a later visit (N = 265). Occupational decline was the most common with 65.1% (TFC) and 55.6% (FAS) reporting some loss of ability to engage in their typical work. Inability to manage finances independently (TFC 49.2%, FAS 35.1%) and drive safely (FAS 33.5%) were also found. Functional decline was significantly predicted by motor, cognitive, and depressive symptoms. The UHDRS captured early functional losses in individuals with HD prior to formal diagnosis, however, fruitful areas for expanded assessment of early functional changes are performance at work, ability to manage finances, and driving. These are also important areas for clinical monitoring and treatment planning as up to 65% experienced loss in at least one area prior to diagnosis. PMID:20471695

  11. Functional decline in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Feigin, A; Kieburtz, K; Bordwell, K; Como, P; Steinberg, K; Sotack, J; Zimmerman, C; Hickey, C; Orme, C; Shoulson, I

    1995-03-01

    We prospectively evaluated 129 patients with manifest Huntington's disease (HD) to determine the rate of illness progression and the clinical features that correlate with functional decline. A single examiner evaluated each patient using the HD Functional Capacity Scale. Standardized motor performance was also assessed in 94 of the patients (73%) using the HD Rating Scale. Total Functional Capacity declined at a rate of 0.63 +/- 0.75 U per year. As functional capacity worsened, chorea lessened, and dystonia intensified. There was no correlation between rate of functional decline and age at onset of HD, body weight, gender of affected parent, or history of neuroleptic use.

  12. Feasibility and Efficacy of Brief Computerized Training to Improve Emotion Recognition in Premanifest and Early-Symptomatic Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Kempnich, Clare L; Wong, Dana; Georgiou-Karistianis, Nellie; Stout, Julie C

    2017-04-01

    Deficits in the recognition of negative emotions emerge before clinical diagnosis in Huntington's disease (HD). To address emotion recognition deficits, which have been shown in schizophrenia to be improved by computerized training, we conducted a study of the feasibility and efficacy of computerized training of emotion recognition in HD. We randomly assigned 22 individuals with premanifest or early symptomatic HD to the training or control group. The training group used a self-guided online training program, MicroExpression Training Tool (METT), twice weekly for 4 weeks. All participants completed measures of emotion recognition at baseline and post-training time-points. Participants in the training group also completed training adherence measures. Participants in the training group completed seven of the eight sessions on average. Results showed a significant group by time interaction, indicating that METT training was associated with improved accuracy in emotion recognition. Although sample size was small, our study demonstrates that emotion recognition remediation using the METT is feasible in terms of training adherence. The evidence also suggests METT may be effective in premanifest or early-symptomatic HD, opening up a potential new avenue for intervention. Further study with a larger sample size is needed to replicate these findings, and to characterize the durability and generalizability of these improvements, and their impact on functional outcomes in HD. (JINS, 2017, 23, 314-321).

  13. Huntington's disease: advocacy driving science.

    PubMed

    Wexler, Nancy S

    2012-01-01

    My mother, Leonore, was diagnosed with Huntington's disease (HD) in 1968 at age 53. I was 23, my sister Alice 26, and our father, Milton Wexler, 60 years old. The same year, our father created the Hereditary Disease Foundation (HDF), dedicated to finding treatments and cures for HD. HD is an autosomal dominant, neurodegenerative disorder. Alice and I each have a 50% chance of inheriting and dying from the disorder. Over the past 43 years, we have been proud to change the face of science. Through Milton Wexler Interdisciplinary Workshops, judicious funding, and focusing on innovation and creativity, the HDF is an integral partner in key discoveries. The HDF recruited and supported >100 scientists worldwide who worked together as the Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group in a successful ten-year search for the HD gene. We found a DNA marker for the HD gene in 1983-the first marker to be found when the chromosomal location was unknown. We isolated the HD gene itself a decade later. These breakthroughs helped launch the Human Genome Project. We supported creating the first mouse model of HD and many other model systems. Currently, we focus on gene silencing, among other approaches, to create new treatments and cures.

  14. Genetic modifiers of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Gusella, James F; MacDonald, Marcy E; Lee, Jong-Min

    2014-09-15

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that directly affects more than 1 in 10,000 persons in Western societies but, as a family disorder with a long, costly, debilitating course, it has an indirect impact on a far greater proportion of the population. Although some palliative treatments are used, no effective treatment exists for preventing clinical onset of the disorder or for delaying its inevitable progression toward premature death, approximately 15 years after diagnosis. Huntington's disease involves a movement disorder characterized by chorea, as well as a variety of psychiatric disturbances and intellectual decline, with a gradual loss of independence. A dire need exists for effective HD therapies to alleviate the suffering and costs to the individual, family, and health care system. In past decades, genetics, the study of DNA sequence variation and its consequences, provided the tools to map the HD gene to chromosome 4 and ultimately to identify its mutation as an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat in the coding sequence of a large protein, dubbed huntingtin. Now, advances in genetic technology offer an unbiased route to the identification of genetic factors that are disease-modifying agents in human patients. Such genetic modifiers are expected to highlight processes capable of altering the course of HD and therefore to provide new, human-validated targets for traditional drug development, with the goal of developing rational treatments to delay or prevent onset of HD clinical signs. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

  15. Early-onset sleep defects in Drosophila models of Huntington's disease reflect alterations of PKA/CREB signaling

    PubMed Central

    Gonzales, Erin D.; Tanenhaus, Anne K.; Zhang, Jiabin; Chaffee, Ryan P.; Yin, Jerry C.P.

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurological disorder whose non-motor symptoms include sleep disturbances. Whether sleep and activity abnormalities are primary molecular disruptions of mutant Huntingtin (mutHtt) expression or result from neurodegeneration is unclear. Here, we report Drosophila models of HD exhibit sleep and activity disruptions very early in adulthood, as soon as sleep patterns have developed. Pan-neuronal expression of full-length or N-terminally truncated mutHtt recapitulates sleep phenotypes of HD patients: impaired sleep initiation, fragmented and diminished sleep, and nighttime hyperactivity. Sleep deprivation of HD model flies results in exacerbated sleep deficits, indicating that homeostatic regulation of sleep is impaired. Elevated PKA/CREB activity in healthy flies produces patterns of sleep and activity similar to those in our HD models. We were curious whether aberrations in PKA/CREB signaling were responsible for our early-onset sleep/activity phenotypes. Decreasing signaling through the cAMP/PKA pathway suppresses mutHtt-induced developmental lethality. Genetically reducing PKA abolishes sleep/activity deficits in HD model flies, restores the homeostatic response and extends median lifespan. In vivo reporters, however, show dCREB2 activity is unchanged, or decreased when sleep/activity patterns are abnormal, suggesting dissociation of PKA and dCREB2 occurs early in pathogenesis. Collectively, our data suggest that sleep defects may reflect a primary pathological process in HD, and that measurements of sleep and cAMP/PKA could be prodromal indicators of disease, and serve as therapeutic targets for intervention. PMID:26604145

  16. Multi-modal neuroimaging in premanifest and early Huntington's disease: 18 month longitudinal data from the IMAGE-HD study.

    PubMed

    Domínguez D, Juan F; Egan, Gary F; Gray, Marcus A; Poudel, Govinda R; Churchyard, Andrew; Chua, Phyllis; Stout, Julie C; Georgiou-Karistianis, Nellie

    2013-01-01

    IMAGE-HD is an Australian based multi-modal longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study in premanifest and early symptomatic Huntington's disease (pre-HD and symp-HD, respectively). In this investigation we sought to determine the sensitivity of imaging methods to detect macrostructural (volume) and microstructural (diffusivity) longitudinal change in HD. We used a 3T MRI scanner to acquire T1 and diffusion weighted images at baseline and 18 months in 31 pre-HD, 31 symp-HD and 29 controls. Volume was measured across the whole brain, and volume and diffusion measures were ascertained for caudate and putamen. We observed a range of significant volumetric and, for the first time, diffusion changes over 18 months in both pre-HD and symp-HD, relative to controls, detectable at the brain-wide level (volume change in grey and white matter) and in caudate and putamen (volume and diffusivity change). Importantly, longitudinal volume change in the caudate was the only measure that discriminated between groups across all stages of disease: far from diagnosis (>15 years), close to diagnosis (<15 years) and after diagnosis. Of the two diffusion metrics (mean diffusivity, MD; fractional anisotropy, FA), only longitudinal FA change was sensitive to group differences, but only after diagnosis. These findings further confirm caudate atrophy as one of the most sensitive and early biomarkers of neurodegeneration in HD. They also highlight that different tissue properties have varying schedules in their ability to discriminate between groups along disease progression and may therefore inform biomarker selection for future therapeutic interventions.

  17. Huntington disease - another chapter rewritten

    SciT

    Nance, M.A.

    1996-07-01

    To those of us who began life when humans had 48 chromosomes and who began working in genetics when the (by then 46) chromosomes had no bands and chromosome 4 could not reliably be distinguished from chromosome 5, the mere ability to diagnose and correlate the clinical phenotypes of genetic disorders with their molecular genotypes is a source of continuing astonishment and pleasure. Indeed, molecular genetic analysis of neurogenetic disorders such as Huntington disease (HD) has provided a steady stream of challenges and surprises to all who believe the genetic principles that they were taught about these disorders. The papermore » by Rubinsztein et al. in this issue of the Journal highlights yet another surprise, which was adumbrated even in the initial paper announcing the discovery of the HD gene: incomplete penetrance of HD gene mutations. 59 refs., 1 fig.« less

  18. Brain urea increase is an early Huntington's disease pathogenic event observed in a prodromal transgenic sheep model and HD cases.

    PubMed

    Handley, Renee R; Reid, Suzanne J; Brauning, Rudiger; Maclean, Paul; Mears, Emily R; Fourie, Imche; Patassini, Stefano; Cooper, Garth J S; Rudiger, Skye R; McLaughlan, Clive J; Verma, Paul J; Gusella, James F; MacDonald, Marcy E; Waldvogel, Henry J; Bawden, C Simon; Faull, Richard L M; Snell, Russell G

    2017-12-26

    The neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease (HD) is typically characterized by extensive loss of striatal neurons and the midlife onset of debilitating and progressive chorea, dementia, and psychological disturbance. HD is caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the Huntingtin ( HTT ) gene, translating to an elongated glutamine tract in the huntingtin protein. The pathogenic mechanism resulting in cell dysfunction and death beyond the causative mutation is not well defined. To further delineate the early molecular events in HD, we performed RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) on striatal tissue from a cohort of 5-y-old OVT73 -line sheep expressing a human CAG-expansion HTT cDNA transgene. Our HD OVT73 sheep are a prodromal model and exhibit minimal pathology and no detectable neuronal loss. We identified significantly increased levels of the urea transporter SLC14A1 in the OVT73 striatum, along with other important osmotic regulators. Further investigation revealed elevated levels of the metabolite urea in the OVT73 striatum and cerebellum, consistent with our recently published observation of increased urea in postmortem human brain from HD cases. Extending that finding, we demonstrate that postmortem human brain urea levels are elevated in a larger cohort of HD cases, including those with low-level neuropathology (Vonsattel grade 0/1). This elevation indicates increased protein catabolism, possibly as an alternate energy source given the generalized metabolic defect in HD. Increased urea and ammonia levels due to dysregulation of the urea cycle are known to cause neurologic impairment. Taken together, our findings indicate that aberrant urea metabolism could be the primary biochemical disruption initiating neuropathogenesis in HD.

  19. Quantitative Electroencephalographic Analysis Provides an Early-Stage Indicator of Disease Onset and Progression in the zQ175 Knock-In Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Simon P; Schwartz, Michael D; Wurts-Black, Sarah; Thomas, Alexia M; Chen, Tsui-Ming; Miller, Michael A; Palmerston, Jeremiah B; Kilduff, Thomas S; Morairty, Stephen R

    2016-02-01

    Patients with Huntington's disease (HD) show a high prevalence of sleep disorders that typically occur prior to the onset of motoric symptoms and neurodegeneration. Our understanding of the pathophysiological alterations in premanifest HD is limited, hindering the ability to measure disease modification in response to treatment. We used a full-length knock-in HD model to determine early changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and sleep that may predict the onset and progression of the disease. A 10-month longitudinal study was designed to determine the effect of the HD mutation on the EEG and sleep/wake changes in heterozygous (HET) and homozygous (HOM) zQ175 mice and wild-type (WT) littermates from 8 to 48 w of age. Mice were instrumented with tethered headmounts to record EEG/electromyography signals. Telemeters were implanted to continuously measure locomotor activity (LMA) and body temperature (Tb). Sleep deprivation (SDep) was performed at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, and 48 w of age. The HD mutation disrupted the EEG field potential from 8-12 w in an age- and mutant huntington dose-dependent manner, prior to changes in sleep/wake states, LMA, and Tb. Prominent effects of the HD mutation on the EEG included a progressive reduction in low frequency power, a slowing of rapid eye movement peak theta frequency, and the emergence of state-dependent beta/gamma oscillations. There was no effect of genotype on the relative increase in nonrapid eye movement delta power or sleep time in response to SDep. The expression of the Huntington's disease (HD) mutation results in complex EEG alterations that occur prior to deficits in behavioral measures and are one of the earliest phenotypes uncovered in this mouse model. Despite these EEG changes, homeostatic responses to sleep loss were preserved in HET and HOM zQ175 mice. Greater insight into the localization and response of these EEG alterations to novel therapies may enable early intervention and improve outcomes for patients with

  20. Software support for Huntingtons disease research.

    PubMed Central

    Conneally, P. M.; Gersting, J. M.; Gray, J. M.; Beidleman, K.; Wexler, N. S.; Smith, C. L.

    1991-01-01

    Huntingtons disease (HD) is a hereditary disorder involving the central nervous system. Its effects are devastating, to the affected person as well as his family. The Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University (IU) plays an integral part in Huntingtons research by providing computerized repositories of HD family information for researchers and families. The National Huntingtons Disease Research Roster, founded in 1979 at IU, and the Huntingtons Disease in Venezuela Project database contain information that has proven to be invaluable in the worldwide field of HD research. This paper addresses the types of information stored in each database, the pedigree database program (MEGADATS) used to manage the data, and significant findings that have resulted from access to the data. PMID:1839672

  1. Software support for Huntingtons disease research.

    PubMed

    Conneally, P M; Gersting, J M; Gray, J M; Beidleman, K; Wexler, N S; Smith, C L

    1991-01-01

    Huntingtons disease (HD) is a hereditary disorder involving the central nervous system. Its effects are devastating, to the affected person as well as his family. The Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University (IU) plays an integral part in Huntingtons research by providing computerized repositories of HD family information for researchers and families. The National Huntingtons Disease Research Roster, founded in 1979 at IU, and the Huntingtons Disease in Venezuela Project database contain information that has proven to be invaluable in the worldwide field of HD research. This paper addresses the types of information stored in each database, the pedigree database program (MEGADATS) used to manage the data, and significant findings that have resulted from access to the data.

  2. Psychiatric symptoms and CAG expansion in Huntington`s disease

    SciT

    Weber, M.W.; Schmid, W.; Spiegel, R.

    1996-02-16

    The mutation responsible for Huntington`s disease (HD) is an elongated CAG repeat in the coding region of the IT15 gene. A PCR-based test with high sensitivity and accuracy is now available to identify asymptomatic gene carriers and patients. An inverse correlation between CAG copy number and age at disease onset has been found in a large number of affected individuals. The influence of the CAG repeat expansion on other phenotypic manifestations, especially specific psychiatric symptoms has not been studied intensively. In order to elucidate this situation we investigated the relation between CAG copy number and distinct psychiatric phenotypes found inmore » 79 HD-patients. None of the four differentiated categories (personality change, psychosis, depression, and nonspecific alterations) showed significant differences in respect to size of the CAG expansion. In addition, no influence of individual sex on psychiatric presentation could be found. On the other hand in patients with personality changes maternal transmission was significantly more frequent compared with all other groups. Therefore we suggest that clinical severity of psychiatric features in HD is not directly dependent on the size of the dynamic mutation involved. The complex pathogenetic mechanisms leading to psychiatric alterations are still unknown and thus genotyping does not provide information about expected psychiatric symptoms in HD gene carriers. 40 refs., 1 fig., 2 tabs.« less

  3. Characterization of conservative somatic instability of the CAG repeat region in Huntington`s disease

    SciT

    Schaefer, F.V.; Calikoglu, A.S.; Whetsell, L.H.

    1994-09-01

    Instability and enlargement of a CAG repeat region at the beginning of the huntingtin gene (IT-15) has been linked with Huntington`s disease. The CAG repeat size shows a highly significant correlation with age-of-onset of clinicial features in individuals with 40 or more repeats who have Huntington disease. The clinical status of nonsymptomatic individuals with 30 to 39 CAG repeats is considered ambiguous. In order to define more carefully the nature of the HD expansion instability, we examined patients in our HD population using a discriminating fluorescence-based PCR approach. The degree of somatic mutation increases with both earlier age of onsetmore » and the size of the inherited allele. A single prominent band one repeat larger than the index peak was typical in individuals with 40-41 CAG repeats. Three to four larger bands are typically discerned in individuals with 50 or more repeats. In an extreme example, an individual with approximately 95 repeats had at least 8 prominent bands. Plotting the degree of somatic mutation relative to the size of the HD allele shows somatic mutation activity increases with size. By this approach 40-60% of the alleles in a 40-41 CAG repeat HD loci is represented in the primary allele. In contrast, the primary allele represents a relatively minor proportion of the total alleles for expansions greater than 50 CAG repeats (10-20%). The limited range of somatic mutation suggest that the instability is restricted to very early stages of embryogenesis before tissue development diverges or that persistent somatic instability occurs at a slow rate. Therefore, the properties of somatic instability in Huntington`s disease have aspects that are both in common but also different from that found in other trinucleotide repeat expanding diseases such as myotonic muscular dystrophy and fragile X syndrome.« less

  4. Modeling Huntington׳s disease with patient-derived neurons.

    PubMed

    Mattis, Virginia B; Svendsen, Clive N

    2017-02-01

    Huntington׳s Disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by expanded polyglutamine repeats in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. While the gene was identified over two decades ago, it remains poorly understood why mutant HTT (mtHTT) is initially toxic to striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). Models of HD using non-neuronal human patient cells and rodents exhibit some characteristic HD phenotypes. While these current models have contributed to the field, they are limited in disease manifestation and may vary in their response to treatments. As such, human HD patient MSNs for disease modeling could greatly expand the current understanding of HD and facilitate the search for a successful treatment. It is now possible to use pluripotent stem cells, which can generate any tissue type in the body, to study and potentially treat HD. This review covers disease modeling in vitro and, via chimeric animal generation, in vivo using human HD patient MSNs differentiated from embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells. This includes an overview of the differentiation of pluripotent cells into MSNs, the established phenotypes found in cell-based models and transplantation studies using these cells. This review not only outlines the advancements in the rapidly progressing field of HD modeling using neurons derived from human pluripotent cells, but also it highlights several remaining controversial issues such as the 'ideal' series of pluripotent lines, the optimal cell types to use and the study of a primarily adult-onset disease in a developmental model. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Exploiting human neurons. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. YAC128 Huntington's disease transgenic mice show enhanced short-term hippocampal synaptic plasticity early in the course of the disease.

    PubMed

    Ghilan, Mohamed; Bostrom, Crystal A; Hryciw, Brett N; Simpson, Jessica M; Christie, Brian R; Gil-Mohapel, Joana

    2014-09-18

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the gene encoding the protein huntingtin. The disease progresses over decades, but often patients develop cognitive impairments that precede the onset of the classical motor symptoms. Similar to the disease progression in humans, the yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) 128 HD mouse model also exhibits cognitive dysfunction that precedes the onset of the neuropathological and motor impairments characteristic of HD. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate whether short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, two related biological models of learning and memory processes, were altered in YAC128 mice in early stages of disease progression. We show that the YAC128 hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) displays marked reductions in paired-pulse depression both at 3 and 6 months of age. In addition, significantly enhanced post-tetanic and short-term potentiation are apparent in YAC128 mice after high-frequency stimulation at this time. Early and late forms of long-term plasticity were not altered at this stage. Together these findings indicate that there may be elevated neurotransmitter release in response to synaptic stimulation in YAC128 mice during the initial phase of disease progression. These abnormalities in short-term plasticity detected at this stage in YAC128 HD transgenic mice indicate that aberrant information processing at the level of the synapses may contribute, at least in part, to the early onset of cognitive deficits that are characteristic of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Harris-Benedict equation estimations of energy needs as compared to measured 24-h energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry in people with early to mid-stage Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Gaba, Ann; Zhang, Kuan; Moskowitz, Carol B; Boozer, Carol N; Marder, Karen

    2008-10-01

    Weight loss and energy metabolism are important clinical research areas in understanding the disease mechanisms in Huntington's disease. Having an accurate method to estimate expected total energy expenditure would likely facilitate the development of studies about these features of the disease. The Harris-Benedict equation is a formula commonly used to estimate basal energy expenditure of individuals, adjusted for height, weight, age and gender. This estimate is then multiplied by a physical activity factor to estimate total daily energy needs to maintain the given weight. Data from 24-h indirect calorimetry was utilized to derive an adjustment formula for the physical activity factor of the Harris-Benedict equation for 13 early to mid-stage Huntington's disease patients. The adjusted activity factor provided the most accurate estimate of energy needs. This adjusted formula can be used in clinical assessments of Huntington's disease patients, as well as in research studies when indirect calorimetry has not been performed.

  7. A Metabolic Study of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Nambron, Rajasree; Silajdžić, Edina; Kalliolia, Eirini; Ottolenghi, Chris; Hindmarsh, Peter; Hill, Nathan R; Costelloe, Seán J; Martin, Nicholas G; Positano, Vincenzo; Watt, Hilary C; Frost, Chris; Björkqvist, Maria; Warner, Thomas T

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease patients have a number of peripheral manifestations suggestive of metabolic and endocrine abnormalities. We, therefore, investigated a number of metabolic factors in a 24-hour study of Huntington's disease gene carriers (premanifest and moderate stage II/III) and controls. Control (n = 15), premanifest (n = 14) and stage II/III (n = 13) participants were studied with blood sampling over a 24-hour period. A battery of clinical tests including neurological rating and function scales were performed. Visceral and subcutaneous adipose distribution was measured using magnetic resonance imaging. We quantified fasting baseline concentrations of glucose, insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoprotein (a), fatty acids, amino acids, lactate and osteokines. Leptin and ghrelin were quantified in fasting samples and after a standardised meal. We assessed glucose, insulin, growth hormone and cortisol concentrations during a prolonged oral glucose tolerance test. We found no highly significant differences in carbohydrate, protein or lipid metabolism markers between healthy controls, premanifest and stage II/III Huntington's disease subjects. For some markers (osteoprotegerin, tyrosine, lysine, phenylalanine and arginine) there is a suggestion (p values between 0.02 and 0.05) that levels are higher in patients with premanifest HD, but not moderate HD. However, given the large number of statistical tests performed interpretation of these findings must be cautious. Contrary to previous studies that showed altered levels of metabolic markers in patients with Huntington's disease, our study did not demonstrate convincing evidence of abnormalities in any of the markers examined. Our analyses were restricted to Huntington's disease patients not taking neuroleptics, anti-depressants or other medication affecting metabolic pathways. Even with the modest sample sizes studied, the lack of highly significant results, despite many being tested, suggests that the majority

  8. Familial psychiatric presentation of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed Central

    Lovestone, S; Hodgson, S; Sham, P; Differ, A M; Levy, R

    1996-01-01

    Symptoms of schizophrenia may be encountered in Huntington's disease (HD) but usually when the full clinical syndrome is apparent; prechoreic psychosis is relatively uncommon. We describe a family where all four members affected with HD presented first with a severe psychiatric syndrome, which in three cases was schizophreniform in nature. Two other living members with no current signs of motor disorder have received psychiatric treatment, one for schizophrenia. Concurrence of psychosis and Huntington's disease in this family is unlikely to have occurred by chance, suggesting that there is some feature in this family which gives rise to the psychotic presentation. Families such as this may contribute to the investigation of genetic factors associated with psychiatric illnesses. Images PMID:8929949

  9. Normal CAG and CCG repeats in the Huntington`s disease genes of Parkinson`s disease patients

    SciT

    Rubinsztein, D.C.; Leggo, J.; Barton, D.E.

    1995-04-24

    The clinical features of Parkinson`s disease, particularly rigidity and bradykinesia and occasionally tremor, are seen in juvenile-onset Huntington`s disease. Therefore, the CAG and CCG repeats in the Huntington`s disease gene were investigated in 45 Parkinson`s disease patients and compared to 40 control individuals. All of the Parkinson`s disease chromosomes fell within the normal size ranges. In addition, the distributions of the two repeats in the Parkinson`s disease patients did not differ significantly from those of the control population. Therefore, abnormalities of these trinucleotide repeats in the Huntington`s disease gene are not likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of Parkinson`s disease.more » 12 refs., 2 figs.« less

  10. Psychodynamic theory and counseling in predictive testing for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Tassicker, Roslyn J

    2005-04-01

    This paper revisits psychodynamic theory, which can be applied in predictive testing counseling for Huntington's Disease (HD). Psychodynamic theory has developed from the work of Freud and places importance on early parent-child experiences. The nature of these relationships, or attachments are reflected in adult expectations and relationships. Two significant concepts, identification and fear of abandonment, have been developed and expounded by the psychodynamic theorist, Melanie Klein. The processes of identification and fear of abandonment can become evident in predictive testing counseling and are colored by the client's experience of growing up with a parent affected by Huntington's Disease. In reflecting on family-of-origin experiences, clients can also express implied expectations of the future, and future relationships. Case examples are given to illustrate the dynamic processes of identification and fear of abandonment which may present in the clinical setting. Counselor recognition of these processes can illuminate and inform counseling practice.

  11. Striatal degeneration impairs language learning: evidence from Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    De Diego-Balaguer, R; Couette, M; Dolbeau, G; Dürr, A; Youssov, K; Bachoud-Lévi, A-C

    2008-11-01

    Although the role of the striatum in language processing is still largely unclear, a number of recent proposals have outlined its specific contribution. Different studies report evidence converging to a picture where the striatum may be involved in those aspects of rule-application requiring non-automatized behaviour. This is the main characteristic of the earliest phases of language acquisition that require the online detection of distant dependencies and the creation of syntactic categories by means of rule learning. Learning of sequences and categorization processes in non-language domains has been known to require striatal recruitment. Thus, we hypothesized that the striatum should play a prominent role in the extraction of rules in learning a language. We studied 13 pre-symptomatic gene-carriers and 22 early stage patients of Huntington's disease (pre-HD), both characterized by a progressive degeneration of the striatum and 21 late stage patients Huntington's disease (18 stage II, two stage III and one stage IV) where cortical degeneration accompanies striatal degeneration. When presented with a simplified artificial language where words and rules could be extracted, early stage Huntington's disease patients (stage I) were impaired in the learning test, demonstrating a greater impairment in rule than word learning compared to the 20 age- and education-matched controls. Huntington's disease patients at later stages were impaired both on word and rule learning. While spared in their overall performance, gene-carriers having learned a set of abstract artificial language rules were then impaired in the transfer of those rules to similar artificial language structures. The correlation analyses among several neuropsychological tests assessing executive function showed that rule learning correlated with tests requiring working memory and attentional control, while word learning correlated with a test involving episodic memory. These learning impairments significantly

  12. Altered Cholesterol and Fatty Acid Metabolism in Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Block, Robert C.; Dorsey, E. Ray; Beck, Christopher A.; Brenna, J. Thomas; Shoulson, Ira

    2010-01-01

    Huntington disease is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by behavioral abnormalities, cognitive decline, and involuntary movements that lead to a progressive decline in functional capacity, independence, and ultimately death. The pathophysiology of Huntington disease is linked to an expanded trinucleotide repeat of cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) in the IT-15 gene on chromosome 4. There is no disease-modifying treatment for Huntington disease, and novel pathophysiological insights and therapeutic strategies are needed. Lipids are vital to the health of the central nervous system, and research in animals and humans has revealed that cholesterol metabolism is disrupted in Huntington disease. This lipid dysregulation has been linked to specific actions of the mutant huntingtin on sterol regulatory element binding proteins. This results in lower cholesterol levels in affected areas of the brain with evidence that this depletion is pathologic. Huntington disease is also associated with a pattern of insulin resistance characterized by a catabolic state resulting in weight loss and a lower body mass index than individuals without Huntington disease. Insulin resistance appears to act as a metabolic stressor attending disease progression. The fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, have been examined in clinical trials of Huntington disease patients. Drugs that combat the dysregulated lipid milieu in Huntington disease may help treat this perplexing and catastrophic genetic disease. PMID:20802793

  13. The Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-Revised accurately detects cognitive decline in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Begeti, Faye; Tan, Adrian Y K; Cummins, Gemma A; Collins, Lucy M; Guzman, Natalie Valle; Mason, Sarah L; Barker, Roger A

    2013-11-01

    Cognitive features, which begin before manifestation of the motor features, are an integral part of Huntington's disease and profoundly affect quality of life. A number of neuropsychological batteries have been used to assess this aspect of the condition, many of which are difficult to administer and time consuming, especially in advanced disease. We, therefore, investigated a simple and practical way to monitor cognition using the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-Revised (ACE-R) in 126 manifest Huntington's disease patients, 28 premanifest gene carriers and 21 controls. Using this test, we demonstrated a selective decrease in phonemic, but not semantic, fluency in premanifest participants Cognitive decline in manifest Huntington's disease varied according to disease severity with extensive cognitive decline observed in early-stage Huntington's disease patients, indicating that this would be an optimal stage for interventions designed to halt cognitive decline, and lesser changes in the advanced cases. We next examined cognitive performance in patients prescribed antidopaminergic drugs as these drugs are known to decrease cognition when administered to healthy volunteers. We paradoxically found that these drugs may be beneficial, as early-stage Huntington's disease participants in receipt of them had improved attention and Mini-Mental State Examination scores. In conclusion, this is the first study to test the usefulness of the ACE-R in a Huntington's disease population and demonstrates that this is a brief, inexpensive and practical way to measure global cognitive performance in clinical practice with potential use in clinical trials.

  14. Arithmetic Word-Problem-Solving in Huntington's Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allain, P.; Verny, C.; Aubin, G.; Pinon, K.; Bonneau, D.; Dubas, F.; Gall, D.L.

    2005-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine executive functioning in patients with Huntington's disease using an arithmetic word-problem-solving task including eight solvable problems of increasing complexity and four aberrant problems. Ten patients with Huntington's disease and 12 normal control subjects matched by age and education were tested.…

  15. Comprehension of Complex Discourse in Different Stages of Huntington's Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saldert, Charlotta; Fors, Angelika; Stroberg, Sofia; Hartelius, Lena

    2010-01-01

    Background: Huntington's disease not only affects motor speech control, but also may have an impact on the ability to produce and understand language in communication. Aims: The ability to comprehend basic and complex discourse was investigated in three different stages of Huntington's disease. Methods & Procedures: In this experimental group…

  16. Predictors of phenotypic progression and disease onset in premanifest and early-stage Huntington's disease in the TRACK-HD study: analysis of 36-month observational data.

    PubMed

    Tabrizi, Sarah J; Scahill, Rachael I; Owen, Gail; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund A; Borowsky, Beth; Landwehrmeyer, Bernhard; Frost, Chris; Johnson, Hans; Craufurd, David; Reilmann, Ralf; Stout, Julie C; Langbehn, Douglas R

    2013-07-01

    TRACK-HD is a multinational prospective observational study of Huntington's disease (HD) that examines clinical and biological findings of disease progression in individuals with premanifest HD (preHD) and early-stage HD. We aimed to describe phenotypic changes in these participants over 36 months and identify baseline predictors of progression. Individuals without HD but carrying the mutant huntingtin gene (classed as preHD-A if ≥10·8 years and preHD-B if <10·8 years from predicted onset), participants with early HD (classed as HD1 if they had a total functional capacity score of 11-13 and HD2 if they had a score of 7-10), and healthy control individuals were assessed at four study sites in the Netherlands, the UK, France, and Canada. We measured 36-month change for 3T MRI, clinical, cognitive, quantitative motor, and neuropsychiatric assessments and examined their prognostic value. We also assessed the relation between disease progression and the combined effect of CAG repeat length and age. All participants were analysed according to their baseline subgroups. Longitudinal results were analysed using a combination of repeated-measure weighted least squares models and, when examining risk of new diagnosis, survival analysis. At baseline, 366 participants were enrolled between Jan 17, and Aug 26, 2008, and of these 298 completed 36-month follow-up: 97 controls, 58 participants with preHD-A, 46 with preHD-B, 66 with HD1, and 31 with HD2. In the preHD-B group, several quantitative motor and cognitive tasks showed significantly increased rates of decline at 36 months, compared with controls, whereas few had at 24 months. Of the cognitive measures, the symbol digit modality test was especially sensitive (adjusted mean loss 4·11 points [95% CI 1·49-6·73] greater than controls; p=0·003). Among psychiatric indicators, apathy ratings specifically showed significant increases (0·34 points [95% CI 0·02-0·66] greater than controls; p=0·038). There was little

  17. Huntington's Disease Society of America

    MedlinePlus

    ... Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowship HD Human Biology Project Scientific Advisory Board Further Reading HD Insights ... Disease Society of America Awards Four HD Human Biology Project Fellowships for 2017 10.12.17 HDBUZZ: ...

  18. Rhes suppression enhances disease phenotypes in Huntington's disease mice.

    PubMed

    Lee, John H; Sowada, Matthew J; Boudreau, Ryan L; Aerts, Andrea M; Thedens, Daniel R; Nopoulos, Peg; Davidson, Beverly L

    2014-01-01

    In Huntington's disease (HD) mutant HTT is ubiquitously expressed yet the striatum undergoes profound early degeneration. Cell culture studies suggest that a striatal-enriched protein, Rhes, may account for this vulnerability. We investigated the therapeutic potential of silencing Rhes in vivo using inhibitory RNAs (miRhes). While Rhes suppression was tolerated in wildtype mice, it failed to improve rotarod function in two distinct HD mouse models. Additionally, miRhes treated HD mice had increased anxiety-like behaviors and enhanced striatal atrophy as measured by longitudinal MRI when compared to control treated mice. These findings raise caution regarding the long-term implementation of inhibiting Rhes as a therapy for HD.

  19. Wearable Sensors in Huntington Disease: A Pilot Study.

    PubMed

    Andrzejewski, Kelly L; Dowling, Ariel V; Stamler, David; Felong, Timothy J; Harris, Denzil A; Wong, Cynthia; Cai, Hang; Reilmann, Ralf; Little, Max A; Gwin, Joseph T; Biglan, Kevin M; Dorsey, E Ray

    2016-06-18

    The Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) is the principal means of assessing motor impairment in Huntington disease but is subjective and generally limited to in-clinic assessments. To evaluate the feasibility and ability of wearable sensors to measure motor impairment in individuals with Huntington disease in the clinic and at home. Participants with Huntington disease and controls were asked to wear five accelerometer-based sensors attached to the chest and each limb for standardized, in-clinic assessments and for one day at home. A second chest sensor was worn for six additional days at home. Gait measures were compared between controls, participants with Huntington disease, and participants with Huntington disease grouped by UHDRS total motor score using Cohen's d values. Fifteen individuals with Huntington disease and five controls completed the study. Sensor data were successfully captured from 18 of the 20 participants at home. In the clinic, the standard deviation of step time (time between consecutive steps) was increased in Huntington disease (p < 0.0001; Cohen's d = 2.61) compared to controls. At home with additional observations, significant differences were observed in seven additional gait measures. The gait of individuals with higher total motor scores (50 or more) differed significantly from those with lower total motor scores (below 50) on multiple measures at home. In this pilot study, the use of wearable sensors in clinic and at home was feasible and demonstrated gait differences between controls, participants with Huntington disease, and participants with Huntington disease grouped by motor impairment.

  20. Communication and Huntington's Disease: Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups with Persons with Huntington's Disease, Family Members, and Carers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hartelius, Lena; Jonsson, Maria; Rickeberg, Anneli; Laakso, Katja

    2010-01-01

    Background: As an effect of the cognitive, emotional and motor symptoms associated with Huntington's disease, communicative interaction is often dramatically changed. No study has previously included the subjective reports on this subject from individuals with Huntington's disease. Aims: To explore the qualitative aspects of how communication is…

  1. High resolution time-course mapping of early transcriptomic, molecular and cellular phenotypes in Huntington's disease CAG knock-in mice across multiple genetic backgrounds.

    PubMed

    Ament, Seth A; Pearl, Jocelynn R; Grindeland, Andrea; St Claire, Jason; Earls, John C; Kovalenko, Marina; Gillis, Tammy; Mysore, Jayalakshmi; Gusella, James F; Lee, Jong-Min; Kwak, Seung; Howland, David; Lee, Min Young; Baxter, David; Scherler, Kelsey; Wang, Kai; Geman, Donald; Carroll, Jeffrey B; MacDonald, Marcy E; Carlson, George; Wheeler, Vanessa C; Price, Nathan D; Hood, Leroy E

    2017-03-01

    Huntington's disease is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of a CAG repeat in the HTT gene. In addition to the length of the CAG expansion, factors such as genetic background have been shown to contribute to the age at onset of neurological symptoms. A central challenge in understanding the disease progression that leads from the HD mutation to massive cell death in the striatum is the ability to characterize the subtle and early functional consequences of the CAG expansion longitudinally. We used dense time course sampling between 4 and 20 postnatal weeks to characterize early transcriptomic, molecular and cellular phenotypes in the striatum of six distinct knock-in mouse models of the HD mutation. We studied the effects of the HttQ111 allele on the C57BL/6J, CD-1, FVB/NCr1, and 129S2/SvPasCrl genetic backgrounds, and of two additional alleles, HttQ92 and HttQ50, on the C57BL/6J background. We describe the emergence of a transcriptomic signature in HttQ111/+  mice involving hundreds of differentially expressed genes and changes in diverse molecular pathways. We also show that this time course spanned the onset of mutant huntingtin nuclear localization phenotypes and somatic CAG-length instability in the striatum. Genetic background strongly influenced the magnitude and age at onset of these effects. This work provides a foundation for understanding the earliest transcriptional and molecular changes contributing to HD pathogenesis. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  2. A study on the trinucleotide repeat associated with Huntington`s disease in the Chinese

    SciT

    Bing-wen Soong; Jih-tsuu Wang

    1994-09-01

    Analysis of the polymorphic (CAG)n repeat in the hungingtin gene in the chinese confirmed the presence of an expanded repeat on all Huntington`s disease chromosomes. Measurement of the specific CAG repeat sequence in 34 HD chromosomes from 15 unrelated families and 190 control chromosomes from the Chinese population showed a range from 9 to 29 repeats in normal subjects and 40 to 58 in affected subjects. The size distributions of normal and affected alleles did not overlap. A clear correlation bewteen early onset of symptoms and very high repeat number was seen, but the spread of the age-at-onset in themore » major repeat range producing characteristic HD it too wide to be of diagnostic value. There was also variability in the transmitted repeat size for both sexes in the HD size range. Maternal HD alleles showed a moderate instability with a preponderance of size decrease, while paternal HD alleles had a tendency to increase in repeat size on transmission, the degree of which appeared proportional to the initial size.« less

  3. The Counselor and Genetic Disease: Huntington's Disease as a Model.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wexler, Nancy S.

    This speech offers a brief description of Huntington's Disease (HD): its causes, symptoms, and incidence. It then concentrates on the psychological problems of persons one of whose parents had the disease, and the role of the counselor in helping these humans cope with their fears about contacting it themselves. A relatively detailed case study is…

  4. Plants and phytochemicals for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Choudhary, Sunayna; Kumar, Puneet; Malik, Jai

    2013-07-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive motor dysfunction, including chorea and dystonia, emotional disturbances, memory, and weight loss. The medium spiny neurons of striatum and cortex are mainly effected in HD. Various hypotheses, including molecular genetics, oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, metabolic dysfunction, and mitochondrial impairment have been proposed to explain the pathogenesis of neuronal dysfunction and cell death. Despite no treatment is available to fully stop the progression of the disease, there are treatments available to help control the chorea. The present review deals with brief pathophysiology of the disease, plants and phytochemicals that have shown beneficial effects against HD like symptoms. The literature for the current review was collected using various databases such as Science direct, Pubmed, Scopus, Sci-finder, Google Scholar, and Cochrane database with a defined search strategy.

  5. Huntington's Disease: Relationship Between Phenotype and Genotype.

    PubMed

    Sun, Yi-Min; Zhang, Yan-Bin; Wu, Zhi-Ying

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant inherited neurodegenerative disease with the typical manifestations of involuntary movements, psychiatric and behavior disorders, and cognitive impairment. It is caused by the dynamic mutation in CAG triplet repeat number in exon 1 of huntingtin (HTT) gene. The symptoms of HD especially the age at onset are related to the genetic characteristics, both the CAG triplet repeat and the modified factors. Here, we reviewed the recent advancement on the genotype-phenotype relationship of HD, mainly focus on the characteristics of different expanded CAG repeat number, genetic modifiers, and CCG repeat number in the 3' end of CAG triplet repeat and their effects on the phenotype. We also reviewed the special forms of HD (juvenile HD, atypical onset HD, and homozygous HD) and their phenotype-genotype correlations. The review will aid clinicians to predict the onset age and disease course of HD, give the genetic counseling, and accelerate research into the HD mechanism.

  6. Huntington Disease (Chorea) in the Middle East

    PubMed Central

    Scrimgeour, Euan M

    2009-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) has been reported in Arab families in several Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt and in non-Arab populations in other countries in the region. It is probably under-reported, and until now, has not been recorded in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan or in Iraq. The Middle East has always been on the crossroads of trade and travel, and HD was probably introduced to some of these countries in previous times. The prevalence rate in Middle Eastern Arabs is estimated to vary from 3 to 4 per 100,000. Although the HD gene which codes for the protein huntingtin has been identified, the function of this protein is not known. At present, no treatment has been found to delay the onset of HD or to treat it effectively. Although relatively rare, HD has increasingly become a focus of international gene research, with the support and collaboration of the International Huntington Association (IHA). The IHA has been represented in Saudi Arabia and Oman. PMID:21509270

  7. Optimising mobility outcome measures in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Busse, Monica; Quinn, Lori; Khalil, Hanan; McEwan, Kirsten

    2014-01-01

    Many of the performance-based mobility measures that are currently used in Huntington's disease (HD) were developed for assessment in other neurological conditions such as stroke. We aimed to assess the individual item-response of commonly used performance-based mobility measures, with a view to optimizing the scales for specific application in Huntington's Disease (HD). Data from a larger multicentre, observational study were used. Seventy-five people with HD (11 pre-manifest & 64 manifest) were assessed on the Six-Minute Walk Test, 10-Meter Walk Test, Timed "Up & Go" Test (TUG), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Physical Performance Test (PPT), Four Square Step Test, and Tinetti Mobility Test (TMT). The Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) Total Motor Score, Functional Assessment Scale and Total Functional Capacity scores were recorded, alongside cognitive measures. Standard regression analysis was used to assess predictive validity. Individual item responses were investigated using a sequence of approaches to allow for gradual removal of items and the subsequent creation of shortened versions. Psychometric properties (reliability and discriminant ability) of the shortened scales were assessed. TUG (β 0.46, CI 0.20-3.47), BBS (β -0.35, CI -2.10-0.14), and TMT (β -0.45, CI -3.14-0.64) were good disease-specific mobility measures. PPT was the best measure of functional performance (β 0.42, CI 0.00-0.43 for TFC & β 0.57 CI 0.15-0.81 for FAS). Shortened versions of BBS and TMT were developed based on item analysis. The resultant BBS and TMT shortened scales were reliable for use in manifest HD. ROC analysis showed that shortened scales were able to discriminate between manifest and pre-manifest disease states. Our data suggests that the PPT is appropriate as a general measure of function in individuals with HD, and we have identified shortened versions of the BBS and TMT that measure the unique gait and balance impairments in HD. These scales, alongside the

  8. Magnetic biomineralisation in Huntington's disease transgenic mice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beyhum, W.; Hautot, D.; Dobson, J.; Pankhurst, Q. A.

    2005-01-01

    The concentration levels of biogenic magnetite nanoparticles in transgenic R6/2 Huntington's disease (HD) mice have been investigated, using seven control and seven HD mice each from an 8 week-old litter and from a 12 week-old litter. Hysteresis and isothermal remnant magnetisation data were collected on a SQUID magnetometer, and analysed using a model comprising dia/paramagnetic, ferrimagnetic and superparamagnetic contributions, to extract the magnetite and ferritin concentrations present. It was found that magnetite was present in both superparamagnetic and blocked states. A larger spread and higher concentration of magnetite levels was found in the diseased mice for both the 8 week-old and 12 week-old batches, compared to the controls.

  9. Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers for Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Byrne, Lauren M; Wild, Edward J

    2016-01-01

    Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is enriched in brain-derived components and represents an accessible and appealing means of interrogating the CNS milieu to study neurodegenerative diseases and identify biomarkers to facilitate the development of novel therapeutics. Many such CSF biomarkers have been proposed for Huntington's disease (HD) but none has been validated for clinical trial use. Across many studies proposing dozens of biomarker candidates, there is a notable lack of statistical power, consistency, rigor and validation. Here we review proposed CSF biomarkers including neurotransmitters, transglutaminase activity, kynurenine pathway metabolites, oxidative stress markers, inflammatory markers, neuroendocrine markers, protein markers of neuronal death, proteomic approaches and mutant huntingtin protein itself. We reflect on the need for large-scale, standardized CSF collections with detailed phenotypic data to validate and qualify much-needed CSF biomarkers for clinical trial use in HD.

  10. Huntingtons Disease Mice Infected with Toxoplasma gondii Demonstrate Early Kynurenine Pathway Activation, Altered CD8+ T-Cell Responses, and Premature Mortality.

    PubMed

    Donley, David W; Olson, Andrew R; Raisbeck, Merl F; Fox, Jonathan H; Gigley, Jason P

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine-repeat expansion in the huntingtin protein. Activation of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation is implicated in the pathogenesis of HD. Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyzes the oxidation of tryptophan to kynurenine, the first step in this pathway. The prevalent, neuroinvasive protozoal pathogen Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) results in clinically silent life-long infection in immune-competent individuals. T. gondii infection results in activation of IDO which provides some protection against the parasite by depleting tryptophan which the parasite cannot synthesize. The kynurenine pathway may therefore represent a point of synergism between HD and T. gondii infection. We show here that IDO activity is elevated at least four-fold in frontal cortex and striata of non-infected N171-82Q HD mice at 14-weeks corresponding to early-advanced HD. T. gondii infection at 5 weeks resulted in elevation of cortical IDO activity in HD mice. HD-infected mice died significantly earlier than wild-type infected and HD control mice. Prior to death, infected HD mice demonstrated decreased CD8+ T-lymphocyte proliferation in brain and spleen compared to wild-type infected mice. We demonstrate for the first time that HD mice have an altered response to an infectious agent that is characterized by premature mortality, altered immune responses and early activation of IDO. Findings are relevant to understanding how T. gondii infection may interact with pathways mediating neurodegeneration in HD.

  11. Early Downregulation of p75NTR by Genetic and Pharmacological Approaches Delays the Onset of Motor Deficits and Striatal Dysfunction in Huntington's Disease Mice.

    PubMed

    Suelves, Nuria; Miguez, Andrés; López-Benito, Saray; Barriga, Gerardo García-Díaz; Giralt, Albert; Alvarez-Periel, Elena; Arévalo, Juan Carlos; Alberch, Jordi; Ginés, Silvia; Brito, Verónica

    2018-05-27

    Deficits in striatal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) delivery and/or BDNF/tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) signaling may contribute to neurotrophic support reduction and selective early degeneration of striatal medium spiny neurons in Huntington's disease (HD). Furthermore, we and others have demonstrated that TrkB/p75 NTR imbalance in vitro increases the vulnerability of striatal neurons to excitotoxic insults and induces corticostriatal synaptic alterations. We have now expanded these studies by analyzing the consequences of BDNF/TrkB/p75 NTR imbalance in the onset of motor behavior and striatal neuropathology in HD mice. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that the onset of motor coordination abnormalities, in a full-length knock-in HD mouse model (KI), correlates with the reduction of BDNF and TrkB levels, along with an increase in p75 NTR expression. Genetic normalization of p75 NTR expression in KI mutant mice delayed the onset of motor deficits and striatal neuropathology, as shown by restored levels of striatal-enriched proteins and dendritic spine density and reduced huntingtin aggregation. We found that the BDNF/TrkB/p75 NTR imbalance led to abnormal BDNF signaling, manifested as a diminished activation of TrkB-phospholipase C-gamma pathway but upregulation of c-Jun kinase pathway. Moreover, we confirmed the contribution of the proper balance of BDNF/TrkB/p75 NTR on HD pathology by a pharmacological approach using fingolimod. We observed that chronic infusion of fingolimod normalizes p75 NTR levels, which is likely to improve motor coordination and striatal neuropathology in HD transgenic mice. We conclude that downregulation of p75 NTR expression can delay disease progression suggesting that therapeutic approaches aimed to restore the balance between BDNF, TrkB, and p75 NTR could be promising to prevent motor deficits in HD.

  12. Huntingtin processing in pathogenesis of Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Qin, Zheng-Hong; Gu, Zhen-Lun

    2004-10-01

    Huntingtons disease (HD) is caused by an expansion of the polyglutamine tract in the protein named huntingtin. The expansion of polyglutamine tract induces selective degeneration of striatal projection neurons and cortical pyramidal neurons. The bio-hallmark of HD is the formation of intranuclear inclusions and cytoplasmic aggregates in association with other cellular proteins in vulnerable neurons. Accumulation of N-terminal mutant huntingtin in HD brains is prominent. These pathological features are related to protein misfolding and impairments in protein processing and degradation in neurons. This review focused on the role of proteases in huntingtin cleavage and degradation and the contribution of altered processing of mutant huntingtin to HD pathogenesis. Copyright 2004 Acta Pharmacologica Sinica

  13. Altered brain mechanisms of emotion processing in pre-manifest Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Novak, Marianne J U; Warren, Jason D; Henley, Susie M D; Draganski, Bogdan; Frackowiak, Richard S; Tabrizi, Sarah J

    2012-04-01

    Huntington's disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes motor, cognitive and psychiatric impairment, including an early decline in ability to recognize emotional states in others. The pathophysiology underlying the earliest manifestations of the disease is not fully understood; the objective of our study was to clarify this. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate changes in brain mechanisms of emotion recognition in pre-manifest carriers of the abnormal Huntington's disease gene (subjects with pre-manifest Huntington's disease): 16 subjects with pre-manifest Huntington's disease and 14 control subjects underwent 1.5 tesla magnetic resonance scanning while viewing pictures of facial expressions from the Ekman and Friesen series. Disgust, anger and happiness were chosen as emotions of interest. Disgust is the emotion in which recognition deficits have most commonly been detected in Huntington's disease; anger is the emotion in which impaired recognition was detected in the largest behavioural study of emotion recognition in pre-manifest Huntington's disease to date; and happiness is a positive emotion to contrast with disgust and anger. Ekman facial expressions were also used to quantify emotion recognition accuracy outside the scanner and structural magnetic resonance imaging with voxel-based morphometry was used to assess the relationship between emotion recognition accuracy and regional grey matter volume. Emotion processing in pre-manifest Huntington's disease was associated with reduced neural activity for all three emotions in partially separable functional networks. Furthermore, the Huntington's disease-associated modulation of disgust and happiness processing was negatively correlated with genetic markers of pre-manifest disease progression in distributed, largely extrastriatal networks. The modulated disgust network included insulae, cingulate cortices, pre- and postcentral gyri, precunei, cunei, bilateral putamena

  14. Huntingtons Disease Mice Infected with Toxoplasma gondii Demonstrate Early Kynurenine Pathway Activation, Altered CD8+ T-Cell Responses, and Premature Mortality

    PubMed Central

    Donley, David W.; Olson, Andrew R.; Raisbeck, Merl F.; Fox, Jonathan H.; Gigley, Jason P.

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine-repeat expansion in the huntingtin protein. Activation of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation is implicated in the pathogenesis of HD. Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyzes the oxidation of tryptophan to kynurenine, the first step in this pathway. The prevalent, neuroinvasive protozoal pathogen Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) results in clinically silent life-long infection in immune-competent individuals. T. gondii infection results in activation of IDO which provides some protection against the parasite by depleting tryptophan which the parasite cannot synthesize. The kynurenine pathway may therefore represent a point of synergism between HD and T. gondii infection. We show here that IDO activity is elevated at least four-fold in frontal cortex and striata of non-infected N171-82Q HD mice at 14-weeks corresponding to early–advanced HD. T. gondii infection at 5 weeks resulted in elevation of cortical IDO activity in HD mice. HD-infected mice died significantly earlier than wild-type infected and HD control mice. Prior to death, infected HD mice demonstrated decreased CD8+ T-lymphocyte proliferation in brain and spleen compared to wild-type infected mice. We demonstrate for the first time that HD mice have an altered response to an infectious agent that is characterized by premature mortality, altered immune responses and early activation of IDO. Findings are relevant to understanding how T. gondii infection may interact with pathways mediating neurodegeneration in HD. PMID:27611938

  15. Huntington disease iPSCs show early molecular changes in intracellular signaling, the expression of oxidative stress proteins and the p53 pathway

    PubMed Central

    Szlachcic, Wojciech J.; Switonski, Pawel M.; Krzyzosiak, Wlodzimierz J.; Figlerowicz, Marek; Figiel, Maciej

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Huntington disease (HD) is a brain disorder characterized by the late onset of motor and cognitive symptoms, even though the neurons in the brain begin to suffer dysfunction and degeneration long before symptoms appear. There is currently no cure. Several molecular and developmental effects of HD have been identified using neural stem cells (NSCs) and differentiated cells, such as neurons and astrocytes. Still, little is known regarding the molecular pathogenesis of HD in pluripotent cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Therefore, we examined putative signaling pathways and processes involved in HD pathogenesis in pluripotent cells. We tested naïve mouse HD YAC128 iPSCs and two types of human HD iPSC that were generated from HD and juvenile-HD patients. Surprisingly, we found that a number of changes affecting cellular processes in HD were also present in undifferentiated pluripotent HD iPSCs, including the dysregulation of the MAPK and Wnt signaling pathways and the dysregulation of the expression of genes related to oxidative stress, such as Sod1. Interestingly, a common protein interactor of the huntingtin protein and the proteins in the above pathways is p53, and the expression of p53 was dysregulated in HD YAC128 iPSCs and human HD iPSCs. In summary, our findings demonstrate that multiple molecular pathways that are characteristically dysregulated in HD are already altered in undifferentiated pluripotent cells and that the pathogenesis of HD might begin during the early stages of life. PMID:26092128

  16. Américo Negrette and Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Moscovich, Mariana; Munhoz, Renato P; Becker, Nilson; Barbosa, Egberto Reis; Espay, Alberto J; Weiser, Roberto; Teive, Hélio A G

    2011-08-01

    The authors present a historical review of the seminal clinical contribution of Professor Américo Negrette, a Venezuelan neurologist, to the evolution of scientific knowledge about Huntington's disease.

  17. 1H-MRSI applied to study Huntington's disease

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodríguez, A. O.

    2000-10-01

    In vivo Magnetic Resonance Spectrocopy (MRS) was applied to study Huntington's disease. Two solvent-suppressed and single-voxel MRS methods were used: PRESS and STEAM. We applied these popular MRS sequences to Huntington's disease patients (HD) and healthy volunteers (HV). We also compared our spectra between HD and HV as well the these two modalities. Spectra results are reported for HD and HV for both MRS schemes.

  18. Transgenic mouse models of Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Skaper, Stephen D; Giusti, Pietro

    2010-08-01

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder characterized by a profound and selective loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Another neurodegenerative disorder, Huntington's disease (HD), is characterized by striking movement abnormalities and the loss of medium-sized spiny neurons in the striatum. Current medications only provide symptomatic relief and fail to halt the death of neurons in these disorders. A major hurdle in the development of neuroprotective therapies is due to limited understanding of disease processes leading to the death of neurons. The etiology of dopaminergic neuronal demise in PD is elusive, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors seems to play a critical role. The majority of PD cases are sporadic; however, the discovery of genes linked to rare familial forms of disease and studies from experimental animal models has provided crucial insights into molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. HD, on the other hand, is one of the few neurodegenerative diseases with a known genetic cause, namely an expanded CAG repeat mutation, extending a polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein. One of the most important advances in HD research has been the generation of various mouse models that enable the exploration of early pathological, molecular, and cellular abnormalities produced by the mutation. In addition, these models for both HD and PD have made possible the testing of different pharmacological approaches to delay the onset or slow the progression of disease. This article will provide an overview of the genetics underlying PD and HD, the animal models developed, and their potential utility to the study of disease pathophysiology.

  19. Inconsistent emotion recognition deficits across stimulus modalities in Huntington׳s disease.

    PubMed

    Rees, Elin M; Farmer, Ruth; Cole, James H; Henley, Susie M D; Sprengelmeyer, Reiner; Frost, Chris; Scahill, Rachael I; Hobbs, Nicola Z; Tabrizi, Sarah J

    2014-11-01

    Recognition of negative emotions is impaired in Huntington׳s Disease (HD). It is unclear whether these emotion-specific problems are driven by dissociable cognitive deficits, emotion complexity, test cue difficulty, or visuoperceptual impairments. This study set out to further characterise emotion recognition in HD by comparing patterns of deficits across stimulus modalities; notably including for the first time in HD, the more ecologically and clinically relevant modality of film clips portraying dynamic facial expressions. Fifteen early HD and 17 control participants were tested on emotion recognition from static facial photographs, non-verbal vocal expressions and one second dynamic film clips, all depicting different emotions. Statistically significant evidence of impairment of anger, disgust and fear recognition was seen in HD participants compared with healthy controls across multiple stimulus modalities. The extent of the impairment, as measured by the difference in the number of errors made between HD participants and controls, differed according to the combination of emotion and modality (p=0.013, interaction test). The largest between-group difference was seen in the recognition of anger from film clips. Consistent with previous reports, anger, disgust and fear were the most poorly recognised emotions by the HD group. This impairment did not appear to be due to task demands or expression complexity as the pattern of between-group differences did not correspond to the pattern of errors made by either group; implicating emotion-specific cognitive processing pathology. There was however evidence that the extent of emotion recognition deficits significantly differed between stimulus modalities. The implications in terms of designing future tests of emotion recognition and care giving are discussed. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Unawareness of deficits in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Sitek, Emilia J; Thompson, Jennifer C; Craufurd, David; Snowden, Julie S

    2014-01-01

    People with Huntington's disease (HD) may show reduced awareness of physical and mental changes in themselves. This article reviews the evidence for loss of awareness (anosognosia) in an attempt to elucidate its characteristics and possible underlying mechanisms. It is shown that defective awareness occurs across domains. People with HD may under-report the presence or severity of involuntary movements, under-estimate cognitive impairment and deny behavioural change. Nevertheless, awareness is not all or none. Moreover, it may be affected differentially for different symptom domains and emerge at different stages of disease, raising the possibility of distinct contributory mechanisms. Findings of an inverse relationship between insight and severity of disease suggest that cognitive impairment, in particular executive dysfunction, may be an important contributory factor. Evidence has accrued to support this argument. However, cognitive impairment cannot fully account for patients' lack of awareness of involuntary movements. Findings that patients accurately report consequences but not the experience of involuntary movements, and better acknowledge their presence when watching videotapes of themselves suggests that physiological factors play an important role. The putative role of denial as a coping mechanism is discussed. Recognition by clinicians of deficient self-awareness is crucial because of its implications for diagnosis and optimal clinical management of HD.

  1. Personalized gene silencing therapeutics for Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Kay, C; Skotte, N H; Southwell, A L; Hayden, M R

    2014-07-01

    Gene silencing offers a novel therapeutic strategy for dominant genetic disorders. In specific diseases, selective silencing of only one copy of a gene may be advantageous over non-selective silencing of both copies. Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat in the Huntingtin gene (HTT). Silencing both expanded and normal copies of HTT may be therapeutically beneficial, but preservation of normal HTT expression is preferred. Allele-specific methods can selectively silence the mutant HTT transcript by targeting either the expanded CAG repeat or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in linkage disequilibrium with the expansion. Both approaches require personalized treatment strategies based on patient genotypes. We compare the prospect of safe treatment of HD by CAG- and SNP-specific silencing approaches and review HD population genetics used to guide target identification in the patient population. Clinical implementation of allele-specific HTT silencing faces challenges common to personalized genetic medicine, requiring novel solutions from clinical scientists and regulatory authorities. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Impairment of retinal increment thresholds in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Paulus, W; Schwarz, G; Werner, A; Lange, H; Bayer, A; Hofschuster, M; Müller, N; Zrenner, E

    1993-10-01

    We have investigated detection thresholds for a foveal blue test light using a Maxwellian view system in 61 normal subjects, 19 patients with Huntington's chorea, 14 patients with Tourette's syndrome, and 20 patients with schizophrenia. Ten measurements were made: The blue test light (1 degree diameter, 500 msec duration) was presented either superimposed on a yellow adaptation field (5 degree diameter) or 500 msec after switching off this field (transient tritanopia effect). In both cases five different background intensities were presented. The only abnormality found was in patients with Huntington's chorea. During adaptation these patients' thresholds are significantly higher than normal (p < 0.005). No change was found in the transient tritanopia effect. Huntington's disease causes degeneration of several different transmitter systems in the brain. Increment threshold testing allows for noninvasive investigation of patients and confirms the involvement of the retina in the degenerative process in Huntington's chorea.

  3. Counterfactual Thinking Deficit in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Solca, Federica; Poletti, Barbara; Zago, Stefano; Crespi, Chiara; Sassone, Francesca; Lafronza, Annalisa; Maraschi, Anna Maria; Sassone, Jenny; Silani, Vincenzo; Ciammola, Andrea

    2015-01-01

    Counterfactual thinking (CFT) refers to the generation of mental simulations of alternatives to past events, actions and outcomes. CFT is a pervasive cognitive feature in every-day life and is closely related to decision-making, planning and problem-solving - all of which are cognitive processes linked to unimpaired frontal lobe functioning. Huntington's Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by motor, behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. Because an impairment in frontal and executive functions has been described in HD, we hypothesised that HD patients may have a CFT impairment. Tests of spontaneous counterfactual thoughts and counterfactual-derived inferences were administered to 24 symptomatic HD patients and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Our results show a significant impairment in the spontaneous generation of CFT and low performance on the Counterfactual Inference Test (CIT) in HD patients. Low performance on the spontaneous CFT test significantly correlates with impaired attention abilities, verbal fluency and frontal lobe efficiency, as measured by Trail Making Test - Part A, Phonemic Verbal Fluency Test and FAB. Spontaneous CFT and the use of this type of reasoning are impaired in HD patients. This deficit may be related to frontal lobe dysfunction, which is a hallmark of HD. Because CFT has a pervasive role in patients' daily lives regarding their planning, decision making and problem solving skills, cognitive rehabilitation may improve HD patients' ability to analyse current behaviors and future actions.

  4. Everyday Cognition in Prodromal Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Janet K.; Kim, Ji-In; Downing, Nancy; Farias, Sarah; Harrington, Deborah L.; Long, Jeffrey D.; Mills, James A.; Paulsen, Jane S.

    2014-01-01

    Objective Assessment of daily functions affected by cognitive loss in prodromal Huntington disease (HD) is necessary in practice and clinical trials. We evaluated baseline and longitudinal sensitivity of the Everyday Cognition (ECog) scales in prodromal HD and compared self- and companion-ratings. Method Everyday cognition was self-assessed by 850 participants with prodromal HD and 768 companions. We examined internal structure using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on baseline data. For longitudinal analysis, we stratified participants into Low, Medium, and High disease progression groups. We examined ECog scores for group differences and participant-and-companion differences using linear mixed effects regression (LMER). Comparison with the Total Functional Capacity (TFC) scale was made. Results CFA revealed good fit of a 5-factor model having a global factor (total score), and sub factors (subscales) of memory, language, visuospatial perception, and executive function. At study entry, participants and companions in the Medium and High groups reported significantly worsened everyday cognition as well as significant functional decline over time. Losses became more pronounced and participant and companion ratings diverged as individuals progressed. TFC showed significant functional loss over time in the High group but not in the Medium group. Conclusions Disease progression is associated with reduced self- and companion-reported everyday cognition in prodromal HD participants who are less than 13 years to estimated motor onset. Our findings suggest companion ratings are more sensitive than participants’ for detecting longitudinal change in daily cognitive function. ECog appears more sensitive to specific functional changes in the prodrome of HD than the TFC. PMID:25000321

  5. Germline transmission in transgenic Huntington's disease monkeys.

    PubMed

    Moran, Sean; Chi, Tim; Prucha, Melinda S; Ahn, Kwang Sung; Connor-Stroud, Fawn; Jean, Sherrie; Gould, Kenneth; Chan, Anthony W S

    2015-07-15

    Transgenic nonhuman primate models are an increasingly popular model for neurologic and neurodegenerative disease because their brain functions and neural anatomies closely resemble those of humans. Transgenic Huntington's disease monkeys (HD monkeys) developed clinical features similar to those seen in HD patients, making the monkeys suitable for a preclinical study of HD. However, until HD monkey colonies can be readily expanded, their use in preclinical studies will be limited. In the present study, we confirmed germline transmission of the mutant huntingtin (mHTT) transgene in both embryonic stem cells generated from three male HD monkey founders (F0) and in second-generation offspring (F1) produced via artificial insemination by using intrauterine insemination technique. A total of five offspring were produced from 15 females that were inseminated by intrauterine insemination using semen collected from the three HD founders (5 of 15, 33%). Thus far, sperm collected from the HD founder (rHD8) has led to two F1 transgenic HD monkeys with germline transmission rate at 100% (2 of 2). mHTT expression was confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction using skin fibroblasts from the F1 HD monkeys and induced pluripotent stem cells established from one of the F1 HD monkeys (rHD8-2). Here, we report the stable germline transmission and expression of the mHTT transgene in HD monkeys, which suggest possible expansion of HD monkey colonies for preclinical and biomedical research studies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Trinkler, Iris; Devignevielle, Sévérine; Achaibou, Amal; Ligneul, Romain V; Brugières, Pierre; Cleret de Langavant, Laurent; De Gelder, Beatrice; Scahill, Rachael; Schwartz, Sophie; Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine

    2017-07-01

    Theories of embodied cognition suggest that perceiving an emotion involves somatovisceral and motoric re-experiencing. Here we suggest taking such an embodied stance when looking at emotion processing deficits in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD), a neurodegenerative motor disorder. The literature on these patients' emotion recognition deficit has recently been enriched by some reports of impaired emotion expression. The goal of the study was to find out if expression deficits might be linked to a more motoric level of impairment. We used electromyography (EMG) to compare voluntary emotion expression from words to emotion imitation from static face images, and spontaneous emotion mimicry in 28 HD patients and 24 matched controls. For the latter two imitation conditions, an underlying emotion understanding is not imperative (even though performance might be helped by it). EMG measures were compared to emotion recognition and to the capacity to identify and describe emotions using alexithymia questionnaires. Alexithymia questionnaires tap into the more somato-visceral or interoceptive aspects of emotion perception. Furthermore, we correlated patients' expression and recognition scores to cerebral grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). EMG results replicated impaired voluntary emotion expression in HD. Critically, voluntary imitation and spontaneous mimicry were equally impaired and correlated with impaired recognition. By contrast, alexithymia scores were normal, suggesting that emotion representations on the level of internal experience might be spared. Recognition correlated with brain volume in the caudate as well as in areas previously associated with shared action representations, namely somatosensory, posterior parietal, posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and subcentral sulcus. Together, these findings indicate that in these patients emotion deficits might be tied to the "motoric level" of emotion expression. Such a double

  7. Enhanced retinal responses in Huntington's disease patients.

    PubMed

    Pearl, Jocelynn R; Heath, Laura M; Bergey, Dani E; Kelly, John P; Smith, Corrie; Laurino, Mercy Y; Weiss, Avery; Price, Nathan D; LaSpada, Albert; Bird, Thomas D; Jayadev, Suman

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by chorea, cognitive impairment and psychiatric symptoms. Retinal examination of HD patients as well as in HD animal models have shown evidence of retinal dysfunction. However, a detailed retinal study employing clinically available measurement tools has not been reported to date in HD. The goal of this study was to assess retinal responses measured by electroretinogram (ERG) between HD patients and controls and evaluate any correlation between ERG measurements and stage of disease. Eighteen patients and 10 controls with inclusion criteria of ages 18-70 years (average age HD subjects: 52.1 yrs and control subjects: 51.9 yrs) were recruited for the study. Subjects with previous history of retinal or ophthalmologic disease were excluded. Retinal function was examined by full-field ERG in both eyes of each subject. Amplitudes and latencies to increasing flash intensities in both light- and dark-adaptation were measured in all subjects. Statistical analyses employed generalized estimating equations, which account for repeated measures per subject. We analyzed the b-wave amplitudes of ERG response in all flash intensities and with 30 Hz flicker stimulation. We found statistically significant increased amplitudes in HD patients compared to controls at light-adapted (photopic) 24.2 and 60.9 cd.sec/m2 intensities, dark-adapted (scotopic, red flash) 0.22 cd.sec/m2 intensity, and a trend toward significance at light-adapted 30 Hz flicker. Furthermore, we found a significant increase in light-adapted ERG response from female compared to male HD patients, but no significant difference between gender amongst controls. We also noted a positive association between number of CAG repeats and ERG response at the smallest light adapted intensity (3.1 cd.sec/m2). ERG studies revealed significantly altered retinal responses at multiple flash intensities in subjects with an HD

  8. Major Superficial White Matter Abnormalities in Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Owen R.; Joshi, Shantanu H.; Squitieri, Ferdinando; Sanchez-Castaneda, Cristina; Narr, Katherine; Shattuck, David W.; Caltagirone, Carlo; Sabatini, Umberto; Di Paola, Margherita

    2016-01-01

    Background: The late myelinating superficial white matter at the juncture of the cortical gray and white matter comprising the intracortical myelin and short-range association fibers has not received attention in Huntington's disease. It is an area of the brain that is late myelinating and is sensitive to both normal aging and neurodegenerative disease effects. Therefore, it may be sensitive to Huntington's disease processes. Methods: Structural MRI data from 25 Pre-symptomatic subjects, 24 Huntington's disease patients and 49 healthy controls was run through a cortical pattern-matching program. The surface corresponding to the white matter directly below the cortical gray matter was then extracted. Individual subject's Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) data was aligned to their structural MRI data. Diffusivity values along the white matter surface were then sampled at each vertex point. DTI measures with high spatial resolution across the superficial white matter surface were then analyzed with the General Linear Model to test for the effects of disease. Results: There was an overall increase in the axial and radial diffusivity across much of the superficial white matter (p < 0.001) in Pre-symptomatic subjects compared to controls. In Huntington's disease patients increased diffusivity covered essentially the whole brain (p < 0.001). Changes are correlated with genotype (CAG repeat number) and disease burden (p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study showed broad abnormalities in superficial white matter even before symptoms are present in Huntington's disease. Since, the superficial white matter has a unique microstructure and function these abnormalities suggest it plays an important role in the disease. PMID:27242403

  9. The emotional experiences of family carers in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Williams, Janet K; Skirton, Heather; Paulsen, Jane S; Tripp-Reimer, Toni; Jarmon, Lori; McGonigal Kenney, Meghan; Birrer, Emily; Hennig, Bonnie L; Honeyford, Joann

    2009-04-01

    This paper is a report of a study conducted to examine the emotional experience of caregiving by family carers of people with Huntington disease and to describe strategies they used to deal with that experience. Huntington disease, commonly diagnosed in young to middle adulthood, is an inherited single gene disorder involving loss of cognitive, motor and neuropsychiatric function. Many family members become caregivers as well as continuing as parents and wage earners. The emotional aspects of caregiving contribute to mental health risks for family members. Focus groups were conducted with 42 adult carers of people with Huntington disease in four United States and two Canadian Huntington disease centers between 2001 and 2005. Data were analyzed through descriptive coding and thematic analysis. All participants reported multiple aspects of emotional distress. Being a carer was described as experiencing disintegration of one's life. Carers attempted to cope by seeking comfort from selected family members, anticipating the time when the care recipient had died and/or using prescription medications. Spousal carers were distressed by the loss of their relationship with their spouse and dealt with this by no longer regarding the person as an intimate partner. Carers were concerned about the disease risk for children in their families and hoped for a cure. Emotional distress can compromise the well-being of family carers, who attempt to maintain multiple roles. Nurses should monitor carer mental health, identify sources of emotional distress and support effective strategies used by carers to mediate distress.

  10. Physical therapy in Huntington's disease--toward objective assessments?

    PubMed

    Bohlen, S; Ekwall, C; Hellström, K; Vesterlin, H; Björnefur, M; Wiklund, L; Reilmann, R

    2013-02-01

    Physical therapy is recommended for the treatment of Huntington's disease, but reliable studies investigating its efficacy are almost non-existent. This may in part be due to the lack of suitable outcome measures. Therefore, we investigated the applicability of novel quantitative and objective assessments of motor dysfunction in the evaluation of physical therapy interventions aimed at improving gait and posture. Twelve patients with Huntington disease received a predefined twice-weekly intervention focusing on posture and gait over 6 weeks. The GAITRite mat and a force plate were used for objective and quantitative assessments. The Unified Huntingtons Disease Rating Scale Total Motor Score, the timed Up &Go test, and the Berg Balance Scale were used as clinical outcome measures. Significant improvements were seen in GAITRite measures after therapy. Improvements were also seen in the Up & Go test and Berg Balance Scale, whereas force plate measures and Total Motor Scores did not change. The results suggest that physical therapy has a positive effect on gait in Huntington's disease. The study shows that objective and quantitative measures of gait and posture may serve as endpoints in trials assessing the efficacy of physical therapy. They should be explored further in larger trials applying a randomized controlled setting. © 2012 The Author(s) European Journal of Neurology © 2012 EFNS.

  11. Observations on Patient and Family Coping with Huntington's Disease.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Falek, Arthur

    1979-01-01

    Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominantly inherited disorder. No definitive method for the preclinical detection of carriers is known. The consequences of this diagnosis are discussed. The significance of genetic counseling and a description of the phases in psychological coping is presented to enable informed decision making by family…

  12. Biological Markers of Cognition in Prodromal Huntington's Disease: A Review

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Papp, Kathryn V.; Kaplan, Richard F.; Snyder, Peter J.

    2011-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD), an autosomal-dominant genetic disorder, has historically been viewed as a degenerative movement disorder but it also includes psychiatric symptoms and progressive cognitive decline. There has been a lack of consensus in the literature about whether or not cognitive signs can be detected in carriers before clinical…

  13. Neuropsychiatry and White Matter Microstructure in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Sarah; Scahill, Rachael I; Seunarine, Kiran K; Stopford, Cheryl; Zhang, Hui; Zhang, Jiaying; Orth, Michael; Durr, Alexandra; Roos, Raymund A C; Langbehn, Douglas R; Long, Jeffrey D; Johnson, Hans; Rees, Geraint; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Craufurd, David

    2015-01-01

    Neuropsychiatric symptoms in Huntington's disease (HD) are often evident prior to clinical diagnosis. Apathy is highly correlated with disease progression, while depression and irritability occur at different stages of the disease, both before and after clinical onset. Little is understood about the neural bases of these neuropsychiatric symptoms and to what extent those neural bases are analogous to neuropsychiatric disorders in the general population. We used Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to investigate structural connectivity between brain regions and any putative microstructural changes associated with depression, apathy and irritability in HD. DTI data were collected from 39 premanifest and 45 early-HD participants in the Track-HD study and analysed using whole-brain Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. We used regression analyses to identify white matter tracts whose structural integrity (as measured by fractional anisotropy, FA) was correlated with HADS-depression, PBA-apathy or PBA-irritability scores in gene-carriers and related to cumulative probability to onset (CPO). For those with the highest CPO, we found significant correlations between depression scores and reduced FA in the splenium of the corpus callosum. In contrast, those with lowest CPO demonstrated significant correlations between irritability scores and widespread FA reductions. There was no significant relationship between apathy and FA throughout the whole brain. We demonstrate that white matter changes associated with both depression and irritability in HD occur at different stages of disease progression concomitant with their clinical presentation.

  14. Early white matter abnormalities, progressive brain pathology and motor deficits in a novel knock-in mouse model of Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Jing; Peng, Qi; Hou, Zhipeng; Jiang, Mali; Wang, Xin; Langseth, Abraham J.; Tao, Michael; Barker, Peter B.; Mori, Susumu; Bergles, Dwight E.; Ross, Christopher A.; Detloff, Peter J.; Zhang, Jiangyang; Duan, Wenzhen

    2015-01-01

    White matter abnormalities have been reported in premanifest Huntington's disease (HD) subjects before overt striatal neuronal loss, but whether the white matter changes represent a necessary step towards further pathology and the underlying mechanism of these changes remains unknown. Here, we characterized a novel knock-in mouse model that expresses mouse HD gene homolog (Hdh) with extended CAG repeat- HdhQ250, which was derived from the selective breeding of HdhQ150 mice. HdhQ250 mice manifest an accelerated and robust phenotype compared with its parent line. HdhQ250 mice exhibit progressive motor deficits, reduction in striatal and cortical volume, accumulation of mutant huntingtin aggregation, decreased levels of DARPP32 and BDNF and altered striatal metabolites. The abnormalities detected in this mouse model are reminiscent of several aspects of human HD. In addition, disturbed myelination was evident in postnatal Day 14 HdhQ250 mouse brain, including reduced levels of myelin regulatory factor and myelin basic protein, and decreased numbers of myelinated axons in the corpus callosum. Thinner myelin sheaths, indicated by increased G-ratio of myelin, were also detected in the corpus callosum of adult HdhQ250 mice. Moreover, proliferation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells is altered by mutant huntingtin both in vitro and in vivo. Our data indicate that this model is suitable for understanding comprehensive pathogenesis of HD in white matter and gray matter as well as developing therapeutics for HD. PMID:25609071

  15. Neural correlates of impaired emotion processing in manifest Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Dogan, Imis; Saß, Christian; Mirzazade, Shahram; Kleiman, Alexandra; Werner, Cornelius J; Pohl, Anna; Schiefer, Johannes; Binkofski, Ferdinand; Schulz, Jörg B; Shah, N Jon; Reetz, Kathrin

    2014-05-01

    The complex phenotype of Huntington's disease (HD) encompasses motor, psychiatric and cognitive dysfunctions, including early impairments in emotion recognition. In this first functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated emotion-processing deficits in 14 manifest HD patients and matched controls. An emotion recognition task comprised short video clips displaying one of six basic facial expressions (sadness, happiness, disgust, fear, anger and neutral). Structural changes between patients and controls were assessed by means of voxel-based morphometry. Along with deficient recognition of negative emotions, patients exhibited predominantly lower neural response to stimuli of negative valences in the amygdala, hippocampus, striatum, insula, cingulate and prefrontal cortices, as well as in sensorimotor, temporal and visual areas. Most of the observed reduced activity patterns could not be explained merely by regional volume loss. Reduced activity in the thalamus during fear correlated with lower thalamic volumes. During the processing of sadness, patients exhibited enhanced amygdala and hippocampal activity along with reduced recruitment of the medial prefrontal cortex. Higher amygdala activity was related to more pronounced amygdala atrophy and disease burden. Overall, the observed emotion-related dysfunctions in the context of structural neurodegeneration suggest both disruptions of striatal-thalamo-cortical loops and potential compensation mechanism with greater disease severity in manifest HD.

  16. Activating transcription factor 6 derepression mediates neuroprotection in Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Naranjo, José R.; Zhang, Hongyu; Villar, Diego; González, Paz; Dopazo, Xose M.; Morón-Oset, Javier; Higueras, Elena; Oliveros, Juan C.; Arrabal, María D.; Prieto, Angela; Cercós, Pilar; González, Teresa; De la Cruz, Alicia; Casado-Vela, Juan; Rábano, Alberto; Valenzuela, Carmen; Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Marta; Li, Jia-Yi; Mellström, Britt

    2016-01-01

    Deregulated protein and Ca2+ homeostasis underlie synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration in Huntington disease (HD); however, the factors that disrupt homeostasis are not fully understood. Here, we determined that expression of downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator (DREAM), a multifunctional Ca2+-binding protein, is reduced in murine in vivo and in vitro HD models and in HD patients. DREAM downregulation was observed early after birth and was associated with endogenous neuroprotection. In the R6/2 mouse HD model, induced DREAM haplodeficiency or blockade of DREAM activity by chronic administration of the drug repaglinide delayed onset of motor dysfunction, reduced striatal atrophy, and prolonged life span. DREAM-related neuroprotection was linked to an interaction between DREAM and the unfolded protein response (UPR) sensor activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6). Repaglinide blocked this interaction and enhanced ATF6 processing and nuclear accumulation of transcriptionally active ATF6, improving prosurvival UPR function in striatal neurons. Together, our results identify a role for DREAM silencing in the activation of ATF6 signaling, which promotes early neuroprotection in HD. PMID:26752648

  17. Quality of life in Huntington's disease: a comparative study investigating the impact for those with pre-manifest and early manifest disease, and their partners.

    PubMed

    Read, Joy; Jones, Rebecca; Owen, Gail; Leavitt, Blair R; Coleman, Allison; Roos, Raymund A C; Dumas, Eve M; Durr, Alexandra; Justo, Damian; Say, Miranda; Stout, Julie C; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Craufurd, David

    2013-01-01

    Given the multifaceted nature of this inherited neurodegenerative condition, typically affecting adults in mid-life, it is perhaps not surprising that studies indicate poorer Health Related Quality of Life (HrQoL) in those with the gene-expansion and, by association, in their families. This study aimed to extend the current literature by exploring specific life domains, including at an earlier disease stage than usually reported in the HRQoL literature, and in a subgroup of gene-negative partners. 355 participants from the TRACK-HD cohort (120 Controls, 118 Pre-HD and 117 early-HD) completed standardised self-report measures of HrQoL (SF36 and QoLI), underwent clinical assessments of capacity and motor function (UHDRS), semi structured interviews assessing neuropsychiatric symptoms (PBA-s), completed paper and computerized cognitive tasks and assessment of behaviours associated with damage to frontal brain circuits (FrSBe). Each gene-expanded group scored statistically significantly lower than gene-negative sibling controls on the SF36 General Health subscale; neuropsychiatric symptoms and executive dysfunction were associated with reduced HrQoL. Those with Stage II disease reported statistically significantly lower HrQoL than gene-negative controls across physical, emotional and social life domains. Those partnered with manifest participants reported lower HrQoL in the social domain compared to those partnered with at-risk participants furthest from disease onset; and perseverative symptoms in manifest partners were found to be related to lower HrQoL in their gene-negative partners. HrQoL in gene-negative partners of pre-manifest individuals was associated with pre-manifest individuals' neuropsychiatric and cognitive function. Understanding the nature and timing of disruption to the HrQoL in people who are pre-manifest and diagnosed with HD, and their gene-negative partners, can inform the development of appropriate strategies and interventions.

  18. Differential loss of striatal projection neurons in Huntington disease

    SciT

    Reiner, A.; Albin, R.L.; Anderson, K.D.

    1988-08-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is characterized by the loss of striatal projection neurons, which constitute the vast majority of striatal neurons. To determine whether there is differential loss among different populations of striatal projection neurons, the integrity of the axon terminal plexuses arising from the different populations of substance P-containing and enkephalin-containing striatal projection neurons was studied in striatal target areas by immunohistochemistry. Analysis of 17 HD specimens indicated that in early and middle stages of HD, enkephalin-containing neurons projecting to the external segment of the globus pallidus were much more affected than substance P-containing neurons projecting to the internal pallidalmore » segment. Furthermore, substance P-containing neurons projecting to the substantia nigra pars reticulata were more affected than those projecting to the substantia nigra pars compacta. At the most advanced stages of the disease, projections to all striatal target areas were depleted, with the exception of some apparent sparing of the striatal projection to the substantia nigra pars compacta. These finding may explain some of the clinical manifestations and pharmacology of HD. They also may aid in identifying the neural defect underlying HD and provide additional data with which to evaluate current models of HD pathogenesis.« less

  19. Huntington Disease - principles and practice of nutritional management.

    PubMed

    Zukiewicz-Sobczak, Wioletta; Król, Renata; Wróblewska, Paula; Piątek, Jacek; Gibas-Dorna, Magdalena

    2014-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a degenerative brain disease clinically manifested by the characteristic triad: physical symptoms including involuntary movements and poor coordination, cognitive changes with less ability to organize routine tasks, and some emotional and behavioral disturbances. For patients with HD, feeding is one of the problems they have to face. People with HD often have lower than average body weight and struggle with malnutrition. As a part of therapy, good nutrition is an intervention maintaining health and functional ability for maximally prolonged time. In the early stages of HD, small amounts of blenderized foods given orally are recommended. In more advanced stages, enteral nutrition is essential using gastric, or jejunal tubes for short term. Most severe cases require gastrostomy or gastrojejunostomy. Although enteral feeding is well tolerated by most of the patients, a number of complications may occur, including damage to the nose, pharynx, or esophagus, aspiration pneumonia, sinusitis, metabolic imbalances due to improper nutrient and fluid supply, adverse effects affecting gastrointestinal system, and refeeding syndrome. Copyright © 2014 Polish Neurological Society. Published by Elsevier Urban & Partner Sp. z o.o. All rights reserved.

  20. Huntington's disease and the ethics of genetic prediction.

    PubMed Central

    Terrenoire, G

    1992-01-01

    What ethical justification can be found for informing a person that he or she will later develop a lethal disease for which no therapy is available? This question has been discussed during the past twenty years by specialists concerned with the prevention of Huntington's Disease, an incurable late-onset hereditary disorder. Many of them have played an active role in developing experimental testing programmes for at-risk persons. This paper is based on a corpus of 119 articles; it reviews the development of their reflection and includes an outline of the ethical problems identified and the solutions adopted in pre-clinical protocols. Seen in a broader perspective, the experience of presymptomatic testing for Huntington's Disease has given medical geneticists the opportunity to clarify their ethical position in the as yet little explored field of predictive medicine. PMID:1535663

  1. Single sperm analysis of the trinucleotide repeat in the Huntington`s disease gene

    SciT

    Leeflang, E.P.; Zhang, L.; Hubert, R.

    1994-09-01

    Huntington`s disease (HD) is one of several genetic diseases caused by trinucleotide repeat expansion. The CAG repeat is very unstable, with size changes occurring in more than 80% of transmissions. The degree of instability of this repeat in the male germline can be determined by analysis of individual sperm cells. An easy and sensitive PCR assay has been developed to amplify this trinucleotide repeat region from single sperm using two rounds of PCR. As many as 90% of the single sperm show amplification for the HD repeat. The PCR product can be easily detected on an ethidium bromide-stained agarose gel.more » Single sperm samples from an HD patient with 18 and 49 repeats were studied. We observed size variations for the expanded alleles while the size of the normal allele in sperm is very consistent. We did not detect any significant bias in the amplification of normal alleles over the larger HD alleles. Our preliminary study supports the observation made by PCR of total sperm that instability of the HD trinucleotide repeat occurs in the germline. HD preimplantation diagnosis on single embryo blastomeres may also possible.« less

  2. Working Memory-Related Effective Connectivity in Huntington's Disease Patients.

    PubMed

    Lahr, Jacob; Minkova, Lora; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Stout, Julie C; Klöppel, Stefan; Scheller, Elisa

    2018-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetically caused neurodegenerative disorder characterized by heterogeneous motor, psychiatric, and cognitive symptoms. Although motor symptoms may be the most prominent presentation, cognitive symptoms such as memory deficits and executive dysfunction typically co-occur. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and task fMRI-based dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to evaluate HD-related changes in the neural network underlying working memory (WM). Sixty-four pre-symptomatic HD mutation carriers (preHD), 20 patients with early manifest HD symptoms (earlyHD), and 83 healthy control subjects performed an n -back fMRI task with two levels of WM load. Effective connectivity was assessed in five predefined regions of interest, comprising bilateral inferior parietal cortex, left anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. HD mutation carriers performed less accurately and more slowly at high WM load compared with the control group. While between-group comparisons of brain activation did not reveal differential recruitment of the cortical WM network in mutation carriers, comparisons of brain connectivity as identified with DCM revealed a number of group differences across the whole WM network. Most strikingly, we observed decreasing connectivity from several regions toward right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) in preHD and even more so in earlyHD. The deterioration in rDLPFC connectivity complements results from previous studies and might mirror beginning cortical neural decline at premanifest and early manifest stages of HD. We were able to characterize effective connectivity in a WM network of HD mutation carriers yielding further insight into patterns of cognitive decline and accompanying neural deterioration.

  3. The emotional experiences of family carers in Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Janet K.; Skirton, Heather; Paulsen, Jane S.; Tripp-Reimer, Toni; Jarmon, Lori; Kenney, Meghan McGonigal; Birrer, Emily; Hennig, Bonnie L.; Honeyford, Joann

    2013-01-01

    Aim This paper is a report of a study conducted to examine the emotional experience of caregiving by family carers of people with Huntington disease and to describe strategies they used to deal with that experience. Background Huntington disease, commonly diagnosed in young to middle adulthood, is an inherited single gene disorder involving loss of cognitive, motor and neuropsychiatric function. Many family members become caregivers as well as continuing as parents and wage earners. The emotional aspects of caregiving contribute to mental health risks for family members. Methods Focus groups were conducted with 42 adult carers of people with Huntington disease in four United States and two Canadian Huntington disease centers between 2001 and 2005. Data were analyzed through descriptive coding and thematic analysis. Findings All participants reported multiple aspects of emotional distress. Being a carer was described as experiencing disintegration of one’s life. Carers attempted to cope by seeking comfort from selected family members, anticipating the time when the care recipient had died and/or using prescription medications. Spousal carers were distressed by the loss of their relationship with their spouse and dealt with this by no longer regarding the person as an intimate partner. Carers were concerned about the disease risk for children in their families and hoped for a cure. Conclusion Emotional distress can compromise the well-being of family carers, who attempt to maintain multiple roles. Nurses should monitor carer mental health, identify sources of emotional distress and support effective strategies used by carers to mediate distress. PMID:19228233

  4. Constitutive upregulation of chaperone-mediated autophagy in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Koga, Hiroshi; Martinez-Vicente, Marta; Arias, Esperanza; Kaushik, Susmita; Sulzer, David; Cuervo, Ana Maria

    2011-12-14

    Autophagy contributes to the removal of prone-to-aggregate proteins, but in several instances these pathogenic proteins have been shown to interfere with autophagic activity. In the case of Huntington's disease (HD), a congenital neurodegenerative disorder resulting from mutation in the huntingtin protein, we have previously described that the mutant protein interferes with the ability of autophagic vacuoles to recognize cytosolic cargo. Growing evidence supports the existence of cross talk among autophagic pathways, suggesting the possibility of functional compensation when one of them is compromised. In this study, we have identified a compensatory upregulation of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) in different cellular and mouse models of HD. Components of CMA, namely the lysosome-associated membrane protein type 2A (LAMP-2A) and lysosomal-hsc70, are markedly increased in HD models. The increase in LAMP-2A is achieved through both an increase in the stability of this protein at the lysosomal membrane and transcriptional upregulation of this splice variant of the lamp-2 gene. We propose that CMA activity increases in response to macroautophagic dysfunction in the early stages of HD, but that the efficiency of this compensatory mechanism may decrease with age and so contribute to cellular failure and the onset of pathological manifestations.

  5. iPSC-based drug screening for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ningzhe; Bailus, Barbara J; Ring, Karen L; Ellerby, Lisa M

    2016-05-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder, caused by an expansion of the CAG repeat in exon 1 of the huntingtin gene. The disease generally manifests in middle age with both physical and mental symptoms. There are no effective treatments or cures and death usually occurs 10-20 years after initial symptoms. Since the original identification of the Huntington disease associated gene, in 1993, a variety of models have been created and used to advance our understanding of HD. The most recent advances have utilized stem cell models derived from HD-patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offering a variety of screening and model options that were not previously available. The discovery and advancement of technology to make human iPSCs has allowed for a more thorough characterization of human HD on a cellular and developmental level. The interaction between the genome editing and the stem cell fields promises to further expand the variety of HD cellular models available for researchers. In this review, we will discuss the history of Huntington's disease models, common screening assays, currently available models and future directions for modeling HD using iPSCs-derived from HD patients. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: PSC and the brain. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. 22 Years of predictive testing for Huntington's disease: the experience of the UK Huntington's Prediction Consortium.

    PubMed

    Baig, Sheharyar S; Strong, Mark; Rosser, Elisabeth; Taverner, Nicola V; Glew, Ruth; Miedzybrodzka, Zosia; Clarke, Angus; Craufurd, David; Quarrell, Oliver W

    2016-10-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition. At-risk individuals have accessed predictive testing via direct mutation testing since 1993. The UK Huntington's Prediction Consortium has collected anonymised data on UK predictive tests, annually, from 1993 to 2014: 9407 predictive tests were performed across 23 UK centres. Where gender was recorded, 4077 participants were male (44.3%) and 5122 were female (55.7%). The median age of participants was 37 years. The most common reason for predictive testing was to reduce uncertainty (70.5%). Of the 8441 predictive tests on individuals at 50% prior risk, 4629 (54.8%) were reported as mutation negative and 3790 (44.9%) were mutation positive, with 22 (0.3%) in the database being uninterpretable. Using a prevalence figure of 12.3 × 10(-5), the cumulative uptake of predictive testing in the 50% at-risk UK population from 1994 to 2014 was estimated at 17.4% (95% CI: 16.9-18.0%). We present the largest study conducted on predictive testing in HD. Our findings indicate that the vast majority of individuals at risk of HD (>80%) have not undergone predictive testing. Future therapies in HD will likely target presymptomatic individuals; therefore, identifying the at-risk population whose gene status is unknown is of significant public health value.

  7. 22 Years of predictive testing for Huntington's disease: the experience of the UK Huntington's Prediction Consortium

    PubMed Central

    Baig, Sheharyar S; Strong, Mark; Rosser, Elisabeth; Taverner, Nicola V; Glew, Ruth; Miedzybrodzka, Zosia; Clarke, Angus; Craufurd, David; Quarrell, Oliver W

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition. At-risk individuals have accessed predictive testing via direct mutation testing since 1993. The UK Huntington's Prediction Consortium has collected anonymised data on UK predictive tests, annually, from 1993 to 2014: 9407 predictive tests were performed across 23 UK centres. Where gender was recorded, 4077 participants were male (44.3%) and 5122 were female (55.7%). The median age of participants was 37 years. The most common reason for predictive testing was to reduce uncertainty (70.5%). Of the 8441 predictive tests on individuals at 50% prior risk, 4629 (54.8%) were reported as mutation negative and 3790 (44.9%) were mutation positive, with 22 (0.3%) in the database being uninterpretable. Using a prevalence figure of 12.3 × 10−5, the cumulative uptake of predictive testing in the 50% at-risk UK population from 1994 to 2014 was estimated at 17.4% (95% CI: 16.9–18.0%). We present the largest study conducted on predictive testing in HD. Our findings indicate that the vast majority of individuals at risk of HD (>80%) have not undergone predictive testing. Future therapies in HD will likely target presymptomatic individuals; therefore, identifying the at-risk population whose gene status is unknown is of significant public health value. PMID:27165004

  8. Triheptanoin improves brain energy metabolism in patients with Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Adanyeguh, Isaac Mawusi; Rinaldi, Daisy; Henry, Pierre-Gilles; Caillet, Samantha; Valabregue, Romain; Durr, Alexandra

    2015-01-01

    Objective: Based on our previous work in Huntington disease (HD) showing improved energy metabolism in muscle by providing substrates to the Krebs cycle, we wished to obtain a proof-of-concept of the therapeutic benefit of triheptanoin using a functional biomarker of brain energy metabolism validated in HD. Methods: We performed an open-label study using 31P brain magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure the levels of phosphocreatine (PCr) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) before (rest), during (activation), and after (recovery) a visual stimulus. We performed 31P brain MRS in 10 patients at an early stage of HD and 13 controls. Patients with HD were then treated for 1 month with triheptanoin after which they returned for follow-up including 31P brain MRS scan. Results: At baseline, we confirmed an increase in Pi/PCr ratio during brain activation in controls—reflecting increased adenosine triphosphate synthesis—followed by a return to baseline levels during recovery (p = 0.013). In patients with HD, we validated the existence of an abnormal brain energy profile as previously reported. After 1 month, this profile remained abnormal in patients with HD who did not receive treatment. Conversely, the MRS profile was improved in patients with HD treated with triheptanoin for 1 month with the restoration of an increased Pi/PCr ratio during visual stimulation (p = 0.005). Conclusion: This study suggests that triheptanoin is able to correct the bioenergetic profile in the brain of patients with HD at an early stage of the disease. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that, for patients with HD, treatment with triheptanoin for 1 month restores an increased MRS Pi/PCr ratio during visual stimulation. PMID:25568297

  9. The CREST-E study of creatine for Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Schifitto, Giovanni; Oakes, David; Bredlau, Amy-Lee; Meyers, Catherine M.; Nahin, Richard; Rosas, Herminia Diana

    2017-01-01

    Objective: To investigate whether creatine administration could slow progressive functional decline in adults with early symptoms of Huntington disease. Methods: We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of up to 40 g daily of creatine monohydrate in participants with stage I and II HD treated for up to 48 months. The primary outcome measure was the rate of change in total functional capacity (TFC) between baseline and end of follow-up. Secondary outcome measures included changes in additional clinical scores, tolerability, and quality of life. Safety was assessed by adverse events and laboratory studies. Results: At 46 sites in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, 553 participants were randomized to creatine (275) or placebo (278). The trial was designed to enroll 650 patients, but was halted for futility after the first interim analysis. The estimated rates of decline in the primary outcome measure (TFC) were 0.82 points per year for participants on creatine, 0.70 points per year for participants on placebo, favoring placebo (nominal 95% confidence limits −0.11 to 0.35). Adverse events, mainly gastrointestinal, were significantly more common in participants on creatine. Serious adverse events, including deaths, were more frequent in the placebo group. Subgroup analysis suggested that men and women may respond differently to creatine treatment. Conclusions: Our data do not support the use of creatine treatment for delaying functional decline in early manifest HD. Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00712426. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with early symptomatic HD, creatine monohydrate is not beneficial for slowing functional decline. PMID:28701493

  10. Targeting the Cholinergic System to Develop a Novel Therapy for Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    D'Souza, Gary X; Waldvogel, Henry J

    2016-12-15

    In this review, we outline the role of the cholinergic system in Huntington's disease, and briefly describe the dysfunction of cholinergic transmission, cholinergic neurons, cholinergic receptors and cholinergic survival factors observed in post-mortem human brains and animal models of Huntington's disease. We postulate how the dysfunctional cholinergic system can be targeted to develop novel therapies for Huntington's disease, and discuss the beneficial effects of cholinergic therapies in pre-clinical and clinical studies.

  11. Palliative Care in Huntington Disease: Personal Reflections and a Review of the Literature

    PubMed Central

    Tarolli, Christopher G.; Chesire, Amy M.; Biglan, Kevin M.

    2017-01-01

    Background Huntington disease is a fatal, autosomal dominant, neurodegenerative disorder manifest by the triad of a movement disorder, behavioral disturbances, and dementia. At present, no curative or disease modifying therapies exist for the condition and current treatments are symptomatic. Palliative care is an approach to care that focuses on symptom relief, patient and caregiver support, and end of life care. There is increasing evidence of the benefit of palliative care throughout the course of neurodegenerative conditions including Parkinson disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, beyond its application at the end of life, little is known about the role of palliative care in Huntington disease. Methods In this article, we discuss what is known about palliative care in Huntington disease, specifically related to early disease burden, caregiver burnout, advance care planning, and end of life care. Results We provide a review of the current literature and discuss our own care practices. Discussion We conclude by discussing questions that remain unanswered and positing ideas for future work in the field. PMID:28428907

  12. Patterns of False Memory in Patients with Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Chen, I-Wen; Chen, Chiung-Mei; Wu, Yih-Ru; Hua, Mau-Sun

    2017-06-01

    Increased false memory recognition in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) has been widely reported; however, the underlying memory constructive processes remain unclear. The present study explored gist memory, item-specific memory, and monitoring ability in patients with HD. Twenty-five patients (including 13 patients with mild HD and 12 patients with moderate-to-severe HD) and 30 healthy comparison participants (HC) were recruited. We used the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm to investigate participants' false recognition patterns, along with neuropsychological tests to assess general cognitive function. Both mild and moderate-to-severe patients with HD showed significant executive functioning and episodic memory impairment. On the DRM tasks, both HD patient groups showed significantly impaired performance in tasks assessing unrelated false recognition and item-specific memory as compared to the HC group; moderate-to-severe patients performed more poorly than mild patients did. Only moderate-severe patients exhibited significantly poorer related false recognition index scores than HCs in the verbal DRM task; performance of HD patient groups was comparable to the HC group on the pictorial DRM task. It appears that diminished verbatim memory and monitoring ability are early signs of cognitive decline during the HD course. Conversely, gist memory is relatively robust, with only partial decline during advanced-stage HD. Our findings suggest that medial temporal lobe function is relatively preserved compared to that of frontal-related structures in early HD. Thus, gist-based memory rehabilitation programs might be beneficial for patients with HD. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Analysis of Participant Withdrawal in Huntington Disease Clinical Trials.

    PubMed

    Banno, Haruhiko; Andrzejewski, Kelly L; McDermott, Michael P; Murphy, Alyssa; Majumder, Madhurima; de Blieck, Elisabeth A; Auinger, Peggy; Cudkowicz, Merit E; Atassi, Nazem

    2017-01-01

    Excellent retention in Huntington disease (HD) clinical trials is essential for testing new therapies. The stage of disease, cognitive status, and availability of a care partner may influence retention in HD clinical trials. We sought to analyze reasons for early withdrawal in three HD clinical trials, and evaluated if either baseline characteristics or follow-up assessments were associated with time to withdrawal. Analyses of participant withdrawal were performed for three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials including the CARE-HD (coenzyme Q10 and remacemide in HD, n = 347), DOMINO (pilot study of minocycline in HD, n = 114), and 2CARE (coenzyme Q10 in HD, n = 609) trials. Reasons for withdrawal were obtained by review of textual data in the study databases. Participant demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed as potential predictors of time to withdrawal using Cox-proportional hazards models. Estimated probabilities of withdrawal at 12 months were 2.9% for CARE-HD, 10.5% for DOMINO, and 5.9% for 2CARE. The top reasons for withdrawal (202 in total), expressed as mean percentage across the three trials, were loss to follow-up (23.2%), death (15.9%), and loss of interest/desire to participate (15.2%). Baseline and time-dependent variables associated with time to withdrawal were mainly motor, behavioral, and functional scores. Age, gender, ethnicity, and educational level were not associated with time to withdrawal in any of the three studies. The estimated withdrawal probability at 12 months ranged from 2.9% to 10.5% in the three HD trials considered here. A possible strategy to improve retention of participants in future HD clinical trials is to enroll individuals with higher baseline functional and behavioral status.

  14. Drosophila eye color mutants as therapeutic tools for Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Green, Edward W; Campesan, Susanna; Breda, Carlo; Sathyasaikumar, Korrapati V; Muchowski, Paul J; Schwarcz, Robert; Kyriacou, Charalambos P; Giorgini, Flaviano

    2012-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin protein (htt). A pathological hallmark of the disease is the loss of a specific population of striatal neurons, and considerable attention has been paid to the role of the kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan (TRP) degradation in this process. The KP contains three neuroactive metabolites: 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK), quinolinic acid (QUIN), and kynurenic acid (KYNA). 3-HK and QUIN are neurotoxic, and are increased in the brains of early stage HD patients, as well as in yeast and mouse models of HD. Conversely, KYNA is neuroprotective and has been shown to be decreased in HD patient brains. We recently used a Drosophila model of HD to measure the neuroprotective effect of genetic and pharmacological inhibition of kynurenine monoxygenase (KMO)-the enzyme catalyzing the formation of 3-HK at a pivotal branch point in the KP. We found that KMO inhibition in Drosophila robustly attenuated neurodegeneration, and that this neuroprotection was correlated with reduced levels of 3-HK relative to KYNA. Importantly, we showed that KP metabolites are causative in this process, as 3-HK and KYNA feeding experiments modulated neurodegeneration. We also found that genetic inhibition of the upstream KP enzyme tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) was neuroprotective in flies. Here, we extend these results by reporting that genetic impairment of KMO or TDO is protective against the eclosion defect in HD model fruit flies. Our results provide further support for the possibility of therapeutic KP interventions in HD.

  15. An improved assay for the determination of Huntington`s disease allele size

    SciT

    Reeves, C.; Klinger, K.; Miller, G.

    1994-09-01

    The hallmark of Huntington`s disease (HD) is the expansion of a polymorphic (CAG)n repeat. Several methods have been published describing PCR amplification of this region. Most of these assays require a complex PCR reaction mixture to amplify this GC-rich region. A consistent problem with trinucleotide repeat PCR amplification is the presence of a number of {open_quotes}stutter bands{close_quotes} which may be caused by primer or amplicon slippage during amplification or insufficient polymerase processivity. Most assays for HD arbitrarily select a particular band for diagnostic purposes. Without a clear choice for band selection such an arbitrary selection may result in inconsistent intra-more » or inter-laboratory findings. We present an improved protocol for the amplification of the HD trinucleotide repeat region. This method simplifies the PCR reaction buffer and results in a set of easily identifiable bands from which to determine allele size. HD alleles were identified by selecting bands of clearly greater signal intensity. Stutter banding was much reduced thus permitting easy identification of the most relevant PCR product. A second set of primers internal to the CCG polymorphism was used in selected samples to confirm allele size. The mechanism of action of N,N,N trimethylglycine in the PCR reaction is not clear. It may be possible that the minimal isostabilizing effect of N,N,N trimethylglycine at 2.5 M is significant enough to affect primer specificity. The use of N,N,N trimethylglycine in the PCR reaction facilitated identification of HD alleles and may be appropriate for use in other assays of this type.« less

  16. Molecular Imaging Markers to Track Huntington's Disease Pathology.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Heather; De Micco, Rosa; Niccolini, Flavia; Politis, Marios

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive, monogenic dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by repeat expansion mutation in the huntingtin gene. The accumulation of mutant huntingtin protein, forming intranuclear inclusions, subsequently leads to degeneration of medium spiny neurons in the striatum and cortical areas. Genetic testing can identify HD gene carriers before individuals develop overt cognitive, psychiatric, and chorea symptoms. Thus, HD gene carriers can be studied in premanifest stages to understand and track the evolution of HD pathology. While advances have been made, the precise pathophysiological mechanisms underlying HD are unclear. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) have been employed to understand HD pathology in presymptomatic and symptomatic disease stages. PET imaging uses radioactive tracers to detect specific changes, at a molecular level, which could be used as markers of HD progression and to monitor response to therapeutic treatments for HD gene expansion carriers (HDGECs). This review focuses on available PET techniques, employed in cross-sectional and longitudinal human studies, as biomarkers for HD, and highlights future potential PET targets. PET studies have assessed changes in postsynaptic dopaminergic receptors, brain metabolism, microglial activation, and recently phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) as markers to track HD progression. Alterations in PDE10A expression are the earliest biochemical change identified in HD gene carriers up to 43 years before predicted symptomatic onset. Thus, PDE10A expression could be a promising marker to track HD progression from early premanifest disease stages. Other PET targets which have been less well investigated as biomarkers include cannabinoid, adenosine, and GABA receptors. Future longitudinal studies are required to fully validate these PET biomarkers for use to track disease progression from far-onset premanifest to manifest HD stages. PET imaging

  17. Prefrontal cortex white matter tracts in prodromal Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Matsui, Joy T; Vaidya, Jatin G; Wassermann, Demian; Kim, Regina Eunyoung; Magnotta, Vincent A; Johnson, Hans J; Paulsen, Jane S

    2015-10-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is most widely known for its selective degeneration of striatal neurons but there is also growing evidence for white matter (WM) deterioration. The primary objective of this research was to conduct a large-scale analysis using multisite diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) tractography data to quantify diffusivity properties along major prefrontal cortex WM tracts in prodromal HD. Fifteen international sites participating in the PREDICT-HD study collected imaging and neuropsychological data on gene-positive HD participants without a clinical diagnosis (i.e., prodromal) and gene-negative control participants. The anatomical prefrontal WM tracts of the corpus callosum (PFCC), anterior thalamic radiations (ATRs), inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi (IFO), and uncinate fasciculi (UNC) were identified using streamline tractography of DWI. Within each of these tracts, tensor scalars for fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity coefficients were calculated. We divided prodromal HD subjects into three CAG-age product (CAP) groups having Low, Medium, or High probabilities of onset indexed by genetic exposure. We observed significant differences in WM properties for each of the four anatomical tracts for the High CAP group in comparison to controls. Additionally, the Medium CAP group presented differences in the ATR and IFO in comparison to controls. Furthermore, WM alterations in the PFCC, ATR, and IFO showed robust associations with neuropsychological measures of executive functioning. These results suggest long-range tracts essential for cross-region information transfer show early vulnerability in HD and may explain cognitive problems often present in the prodromal stage. Hum Brain Mapp 36:3717-3732, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Apolipoprotein E and presenilin-1 genotypes in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Panas, M; Avramopoulos, D; Karadima, G; Petersen, M B; Vassilopoulos, D

    1999-07-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant degenerative disease of the central nervous system manifested by involuntary movements (chorea), psychiatric manifestations, and cognitive impairment with a variable age at onset. This variability is mainly attributed to genetic factors. The so-called aging genes [e.g., those for apolipoprotein E (APOE) and presenilin-1 (PS-1) have been implicated in determining the age at onset of Alzheimer's disease, a disease sharing common clinical features with HD. In 60 unrelated patients suffering from HD (mean age at onset 40.1 years, range 20-65) we determined number of CAG repeats and the distribution of the APOE alleles (epsilon2, epsilon3, epsilon4) and PS-1 alleles. The results showed that: (a) The age at onset was higher in the group of patients with the epsilon4 allele (51.6 vs. 38.0 P<0.002), (b) The correlation between the age at onset and the number of CAG repeats was strong in patients with the epsilon3/epsilon3 genotype while it was not detected in patients with epsilon3/epsilon4 genotype. (c) No correlation was found between age at onset and PS-1 alleles. In conclusion, APOE seems to be a significant factor influencing the age at onset of Huntington's disease.

  19. Study of plasma-derived miRNAs mimic differences in Huntington's disease brain.

    PubMed

    Hoss, Andrew G; Lagomarsino, Valentina N; Frank, Samuel; Hadzi, Tiffany C; Myers, Richard H; Latourelle, Jeanne C

    2015-12-01

    Biomarkers for Huntington's disease progression could accelerate therapeutic developments and improve patient care. Brain microRNAs relating to clinical features of Huntington's disease may represent a potential Huntington's disease biomarker in blood. This study was undertaken to examine candidate microRNAs in plasma to determine whether changes observed in HD brains are detectable in peripheral samples. Four microRNAs from 26 manifest Huntington's disease, four asymptomatic Huntington's disease gene carriers, and eight controls were quantified in plasma using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Linear regression was used to assess microRNA levels across control, asymptomatic gene carriers, and manifest patients. miR-10b-5p (P = 0.0068) and miR-486-5p (P = 0.044) were elevated in Huntington's disease plasma. miR-10b-5p was decreased in asymptomatic gene carriers as compared with patients with Huntington's disease (P = 0.049), but no difference between asymptomatic gene carriers and healthy controls was observed (P = 0.24). These findings suggest that microRNA changes observed in Huntington's disease brain may be detectable in plasma and have potential clinical utility. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

  20. The Cambridge MRI database for animal models of Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Sawiak, Stephen J; Morton, A Jennifer

    2016-01-01

    We describe the Cambridge animal brain magnetic resonance imaging repository comprising 400 datasets to date from mouse models of Huntington disease. The data include raw images as well as segmented grey and white matter images with maps of cortical thickness. All images and phenotypic data for each subject are freely-available without restriction from (http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/243361/). Software and anatomical population templates optimised for animal brain analysis with MRI are also available from this site. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  1. 3-Hydroxyanthranilate oxygenase activity is increased in the brains of Huntington disease victims

    SciT

    Schwarcz, R.; Okuno, E.; White, R.J.

    1988-06-01

    An excess of the tryptophan metabolite quinolinic acid in the brain has been hypothetically related to the pathogenesis of Huntington disease. Quinolinate's immediate biosynthetic enzyme, 3-hydroxyanthranilate oxygenase, has now been detected in human brain tissue. The activity of 3-hydroxyanthranilate oxygenase is increased in Huntington disease brains as compared to control brains. The increment is particularly pronounced in the striatum, which is known to exhibit the most prominent nerve-cell loss in Huntington disease. Thus, the Huntington disease brain has a disproportionately high capability to produce the endogenous excitotoxin quinolinic acid. This finding may be of relevance for clinical, neuropathologic, and biochemicalmore » features associated with Huntington disease.« less

  2. Embryonic Mutant Huntingtin Aggregate Formation in Mouse Models of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Osmand, Alexander P; Bichell, Terry Jo; Bowman, Aaron B; Bates, Gillian P

    2016-12-15

    The role of aggregate formation in the pathophysiology of Huntington's disease (HD) remains uncertain. However, the temporal appearance of aggregates tends to correlate with the onset of symptoms and the numbers of neuropil aggregates correlate with the progression of clinical disease. Using highly sensitive immunohistochemical methods we have detected the appearance of diffuse aggregates during embryonic development in the R6/2 and YAC128 mouse models of HD. These are initially seen in developing axonal tracts and appear to spread throughout the cerebrum in the early neonate.

  3. Americo Negrette (1924 to 2003): diagnosing Huntington disease in Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Okun, Michael S; Thommi, Nia

    2004-07-27

    To elucidate the role of Dr. Americo Negrette in diagnosing and reclassifying the dancing mania in Maracaibo, Venezuela as Huntington disease (HD). All of the medical and nonmedical books and articles by Negrette were collected and reviewed. Personal interviews with Negrette were performed to confirm the details of his life and original work. His childhood, medical education, and contribution to HD, as well as contributions to medicine, art, and poetry, were covered in interview sessions. Excerpts from his autobiography, Ciudad de Fuego, were translated into English for publication. A complete bibliography of 70 books and research articles authored by Negrette was assembled. Negrette himself reviewed the compilation of this manuscript just days before his sudden death on September 14, 2003. Americo Negrette, a Venezuelan physician, biochemist, artist, and poet, observed a dancing epidemic in 1952. He acquired, through interviews with locals, the knowledge that there were two other small towns along Lake Maracaibo devastated by a syndrome called el mal (the bad). Negrette changed the diagnosis of these patients from a dancing mania to what he believed was Huntington chorea, later termed HD. He presented his findings at the Venezuelan Sixth Congress of Medical Science in 1955. He was met with reluctance in the local scientific community and a passive ear from government authorities. His description, written in Spanish, was not widely distributed beyond Venezuela, and its importance would have to wait until one of his students shared his observations (more than a decade later) with the HD research community and the rest of the world. The "dancing mania" of Maracaibo, because of the work of Americo Negrette, has been reclassified as Huntington disease.

  4. Network topology and functional connectivity disturbances precede the onset of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Harrington, Deborah L; Rubinov, Mikail; Durgerian, Sally; Mourany, Lyla; Reece, Christine; Koenig, Katherine; Bullmore, Ed; Long, Jeffrey D; Paulsen, Jane S; Rao, Stephen M

    2015-08-01

    Cognitive, motor and psychiatric changes in prodromal Huntington's disease have nurtured the emergent need for early interventions. Preventive clinical trials for Huntington's disease, however, are limited by a shortage of suitable measures that could serve as surrogate outcomes. Measures of intrinsic functional connectivity from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging are of keen interest. Yet recent studies suggest circumscribed abnormalities in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity in prodromal Huntington's disease, despite the spectrum of behavioural changes preceding a manifest diagnosis. The present study used two complementary analytical approaches to examine whole-brain resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity in prodromal Huntington's disease. Network topology was studied using graph theory and simple functional connectivity amongst brain regions was explored using the network-based statistic. Participants consisted of gene-negative controls (n = 16) and prodromal Huntington's disease individuals (n = 48) with various stages of disease progression to examine the influence of disease burden on intrinsic connectivity. Graph theory analyses showed that global network interconnectivity approximated a random network topology as proximity to diagnosis neared and this was associated with decreased connectivity amongst highly-connected rich-club network hubs, which integrate processing from diverse brain regions. However, functional segregation within the global network (average clustering) was preserved. Functional segregation was also largely maintained at the local level, except for the notable decrease in the diversity of anterior insula intermodular-interconnections (participation coefficient), irrespective of disease burden. In contrast, network-based statistic analyses revealed patterns of weakened frontostriatal connections and strengthened frontal-posterior connections that evolved as disease

  5. Polyglutamine aggregation in Huntington and related diseases.

    PubMed

    Polling, Saskia; Hill, Andrew F; Hatters, Danny M

    2012-01-01

    Polyglutamine (polyQ)-expansions in different proteins cause nine neurodegenerative diseases. While polyQ aggregation is a key pathological hallmark of these diseases, how aggregation relates to pathogenesis remains contentious. In this chapter, we review what is known about the aggregation process and how cells respond and interact with the polyQ-expanded proteins. We cover detailed biophysical and structural studies to uncover the intrinsic features of polyQ aggregates and concomitant effects in the cellular environment. We also examine the functional consequences ofpolyQ aggregation and how cells may attempt to intervene and guide the aggregation process.

  6. Myostatin inhibition prevents skeletal muscle pathophysiology in Huntington's disease mice.

    PubMed

    Bondulich, Marie K; Jolinon, Nelly; Osborne, Georgina F; Smith, Edward J; Rattray, Ivan; Neueder, Andreas; Sathasivam, Kirupa; Ahmed, Mhoriam; Ali, Nadira; Benjamin, Agnesska C; Chang, Xiaoli; Dick, James R T; Ellis, Matthew; Franklin, Sophie A; Goodwin, Daniel; Inuabasi, Linda; Lazell, Hayley; Lehar, Adam; Richard-Londt, Angela; Rosinski, Jim; Smith, Donna L; Wood, Tobias; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Brandner, Sebastian; Greensmith, Linda; Howland, David; Munoz-Sanjuan, Ignacio; Lee, Se-Jin; Bates, Gillian P

    2017-10-27

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder of which skeletal muscle atrophy is a common feature, and multiple lines of evidence support a muscle-based pathophysiology in HD mouse models. Inhibition of myostatin signaling increases muscle mass, and therapeutic approaches based on this are in clinical development. We have used a soluble ActRIIB decoy receptor (ACVR2B/Fc) to test the effects of myostatin/activin A inhibition in the R6/2 mouse model of HD. Weekly administration from 5 to 11 weeks of age prevented body weight loss, skeletal muscle atrophy, muscle weakness, contractile abnormalities, the loss of functional motor units in EDL muscles and delayed end-stage disease. Inhibition of myostatin/activin A signaling activated transcriptional profiles to increase muscle mass in wild type and R6/2 mice but did little to modulate the extensive Huntington's disease-associated transcriptional dysregulation, consistent with treatment having little impact on HTT aggregation levels. Modalities that inhibit myostatin signaling are currently in clinical trials for a variety of indications, the outcomes of which will present the opportunity to assess the potential benefits of targeting this pathway in HD patients.

  7. It wasn't Witchcraft--It was Huntington Disease!

    PubMed

    Penaranda, Eribeth; Garcia, Angel; Montgomery, Lisa

    2011-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal-dominant, incurable, progressive disorder that manifests with chorea and behavioral and cognitive impairment. The disease usually occurs during the fourth or fifth decade of life; however, it may present at any age. Clinical suspicion is confirmed by genetic testing. Death occurs, on average, 15 to 20 years after the onset of symptoms. Here we report about a Hispanic woman and her family who were affected by the disease; this case illustrates the role of cultural values and beliefs in the decision-making process, as well as the importance of the physician's cultural competency in fostering a trusting relationship that may lessen the burden of catastrophic diseases on individuals, families, and society at-large.

  8. Modern Genome Editing Technologies in Huntington's Disease Research.

    PubMed

    Malankhanova, Tuyana B; Malakhova, Anastasia A; Medvedev, Sergey P; Zakian, Suren M

    2017-01-01

    The development of new revolutionary technologies for directed gene editing has made it possible to thoroughly model and study NgAgo human diseases at the cellular and molecular levels. Gene editing tools like ZFN, TALEN, CRISPR-based systems, NgAgo and SGN can introduce different modifications. In gene sequences and regulate gene expression in different types of cells including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These tools can be successfully used for Huntington's disease (HD) modeling, for example, to generate isogenic cell lines bearing different numbers of CAG repeats or to correct the mutation causing the disease. This review presents common genome editing technologies and summarizes the progress made in using them in HD and other hereditary diseases. Furthermore, we will discuss prospects and limitations of genome editing in understanding HD pathology.

  9. Swallowing endoscopy findings in Huntington's disease: a case report.

    PubMed

    Alves, Thaís Coelho; Cola, Paula Cristina; Santos, Rarissa Rúbia Dallaqua Dos; Motonaga, Suely Mayumi; Silva, Roberta Gonçalves da

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a degenerative genetic disorder with autosomal-dominant transmission. The triad of symptoms of this disease consists of psychiatric disorders, jerky movements, and dementia. Oropharyngeal dysphagia, which is more evident with disease progression, is also present. Few studies have addressed the swallowing characteristics using objective analysis in this population. The purpose of this research was to describe the swallowing endoscopic findings of the pharyngeal phase in HD. This is a cross-sectional study addressing a clinical case which included two individuals of the same family, male, 32 and 63 years old, designated as individual A and individual B, with progression of the disease for five and 13 years, respectively. Consistent liquid, nectar, and puree were offered during the evaluation. There was presence of posterior oral spillage in liquid and nectar, small amount of pharyngeal residues, and no laryngeal penetration or aspiration in the individuals with HD in this study.

  10. Structural imaging in premanifest and manifest Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Scahill, Rachael I; Andre, Ralph; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Aylward, Elizabeth H

    2017-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) neuropathology has a devastating effect on brain structure and consequently brain function; neuroimaging provides a means to assess these effects in gene carriers. In this chapter we first outline the unique utility of structural imaging in understanding HD and discuss some of the acquisition and analysis techniques currently available. We review the existing literature to summarize what we know so far about structural brain changes across the spectrum of disease from premanifest through to manifest disease. We then consider how these neuroimaging findings relate to patient function and nonimaging biomarkers, and can be used to predict disease onset. Finally we review the utility of imaging measures for assessment of treatment efficacy in clinical trials. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Are there multiple pathways in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease?

    PubMed Central

    Aronin, N; Kim, M; Laforet, G; DiFiglia, M

    1999-01-01

    Studies of huntingtin localization in human post-mortem brain offer insights and a framework for basic experiments in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. In neurons of cortex and striatum, we identified changes in the cytoplasmic localization of huntingtin including a marked perinuclear accumulation of huntingtin and formation of multivesicular bodies, changes conceivably pointing to an altered handling of huntingtin in neurons. In Huntington's disease, huntingtin also accumulates in aberrant subcellular compartments such as nuclear and neuritic aggregates co-localized with ubiquitin. The site of protein aggregation is polyglutamine-dependent, both in juvenile-onset patients having more aggregates in the nucleus and in adult-onset patients presenting more neuritic aggregates. Studies in vitro reveal that the genesis of these aggregates and cell death are tied to cleavage of mutant huntingtin. However, we found that the aggregation of mutant huntingtin can be dissociated from the extent of cell death. Thus properties of mutant huntingtin more subtle than its aggregation, such as its proteolysis and protein interactions that affect vesicle trafficking and nuclear transport, might suffice to cause neurodegeneration in the striatum and cortex. We propose that mutant huntingtin engages multiple pathogenic pathways leading to neuronal death. PMID:10434298

  12. Huntington's Disease in a Patient Misdiagnosed as Conversion Disorder.

    PubMed

    Nogueira, João Machado; Franco, Ana Margarida; Mendes, Susana; Valadas, Anabela; Semedo, Cristina; Jesus, Gustavo

    2018-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited, progressive, and neurodegenerative neuropsychiatric disorder caused by the expansion of cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) trinucleotide in Interested Transcript (IT) 15 gene on chromosome 4. This pathology typically presents in individuals aged between 30 and 50 years and the age of onset is inversely correlated with the length of the CAG repeat expansion. It is characterized by chorea, cognitive deficits, and psychiatric symptoms. Usually the psychiatric disorders precede motor and cognitive impairment, Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders being the most common presentations. We present a clinical case of a 65-year-old woman admitted to our Psychiatric Acute Unit. During the 6 years preceding the admission, the patient had clinical assessments made several times by different specialties that focused only on isolated symptoms, disregarding the syndrome as a whole. In the course of her last admission, the patient was referred to our Neuropsychiatric Team, which made the provisional diagnosis of late-onset Huntington's disease, later confirmed by genetic testing. This clinical vignette highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to atypical clinical presentations and raises awareness for the relevance of investigating carefully motor symptoms in psychiatric patients.

  13. High Protein Diet and Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Yih-Ru; Chen, Pei; Tsai, Fuu-Jen; Yang, Chueh-Lien; Tsao, Ya-Tzu; Chang, Wen; Hsieh, I-Shan; Chern, Yijuang; Soong, Bing-Wen

    2015-01-01

    Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the huntingtin (HTT) gene with expanded CAG repeats. In addition to the apparent brain abnormalities, impairments also occur in peripheral tissues. We previously reported that mutant Huntingtin (mHTT) exists in the liver and causes urea cycle deficiency. A low protein diet (17%) restores urea cycle activity and ameliorates symptoms in HD model mice. It remains unknown whether the dietary protein content should be monitored closely in HD patients because the normal protein consumption is lower in humans (~15% of total calories) than in mice (~22%). We assessed whether dietary protein content affects the urea cycle in HD patients. Thirty HD patients were hospitalized and received a standard protein diet (13.7% protein) for 5 days, followed by a high protein diet (HPD, 26.3% protein) for another 5 days. Urea cycle deficiency was monitored by the blood levels of citrulline and ammonia. HD progression was determined by the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS). The HPD increased blood citrulline concentration from 15.19 μmol/l to 16.30 μmol/l (p = 0.0378) in HD patients but did not change blood ammonia concentration. A 2-year pilot study of 14 HD patients found no significant correlation between blood citrulline concentration and HD progression. Our results indicated a short period of the HPD did not markedly compromise urea cycle function. Blood citrulline concentration is not a reliable biomarker of HD progression. PMID:25992839

  14. Xeroderma pigmentosum is a definite cause of Huntington's disease-like syndrome.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Moreno, Hector; Fassihi, Hiva; Sarkany, Robert P E; Phukan, Julie; Warner, Thomas; Lehmann, Alan R; Giunti, Paola

    2018-01-01

    Xeroderma pigmentosum is characterized by cutaneous, ophthalmological, and neurological features. Although it is typical of childhood, late presentations can mimic different neurodegenerative conditions. We report two families presenting as Huntington's disease-like syndromes. The first case (group G) presented with neuropsychiatric features, cognitive decline and chorea. Typical lentigines were only noticed after the neurological disease started. The second case (group B) presented adult-onset chorea and neuropsychiatric symptoms after an aggressive ocular melanoma. Xeroderma pigmentosum can manifest as a Huntington's Disease-like syndrome. Classic dermatological and oncological features have to be investigated in choreic patients with negative genetic tests for Huntington's disease-like phenotypes.

  15. Selective vulnerability of Rich Club brain regions is an organizational principle of structural connectivity loss in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    McColgan, Peter; Seunarine, Kiran K; Razi, Adeel; Cole, James H; Gregory, Sarah; Durr, Alexandra; Roos, Raymund A C; Stout, Julie C; Landwehrmeyer, Bernhard; Scahill, Rachael I; Clark, Chris A; Rees, Geraint; Tabrizi, Sarah J

    2015-11-01

    Huntington's disease can be predicted many years before symptom onset, and thus makes an ideal model for studying the earliest mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Diffuse patterns of structural connectivity loss occur in the basal ganglia and cortex early in the disease. However, the organizational principles that underlie these changes are unclear. By understanding such principles we can gain insight into the link between the cellular pathology caused by mutant huntingtin and its downstream effect at the macroscopic level. The 'rich club' is a pattern of organization established in healthy human brains, where specific hub 'rich club' brain regions are more highly connected to each other than other brain regions. We hypothesized that selective loss of rich club connectivity might represent an organizing principle underlying the distributed pattern of structural connectivity loss seen in Huntington's disease. To test this hypothesis we performed diffusion tractography and graph theoretical analysis in a pseudo-longitudinal study of 50 premanifest and 38 manifest Huntington's disease participants compared with 47 healthy controls. Consistent with our hypothesis we found that structural connectivity loss selectively affected rich club brain regions in premanifest and manifest Huntington's disease participants compared with controls. We found progressive network changes across controls, premanifest Huntington's disease and manifest Huntington's disease characterized by increased network segregation in the premanifest stage and loss of network integration in manifest disease. These regional and whole brain network differences were highly correlated with cognitive and motor deficits suggesting they have pathophysiological relevance. We also observed greater reductions in the connectivity of brain regions that have higher network traffic and lower clustering of neighbouring regions. This provides a potential mechanism that results in a characteristic pattern of structural

  16. Huntington's disease (HD): the neuropathology of a multisystem neurodegenerative disorder of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Rüb, U; Seidel, K; Heinsen, H; Vonsattel, J P; den Dunnen, W F; Korf, H W

    2016-11-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominantly inherited, and currently untreatable, neuropsychiatric disorder. This progressive and ultimately fatal disease is named after the American physician George Huntington and according to the underlying molecular biological mechanisms is assigned to the human polyglutamine or CAG-repeat diseases. In the present article we give an overview of the currently known neurodegenerative hallmarks of the brains of HD patients. Subsequent to recent pathoanatomical studies the prevailing reductionistic concept of HD as a human neurodegenerative disease, which is primarily and more or less exclusively confined to the striatum (ie, caudate nucleus and putamen) has been abandoned. Many recent studies have improved our neuropathological knowledge of HD; many of the early groundbreaking findings of neuropathological HD research have been rediscovered and confirmed. The results of this investigation have led to the stepwise revision of the simplified pathoanatomical and pathophysiological HD concept and culminated in the implementation of the current concept of HD as a multisystem degenerative disease of the human brain. The multisystem character of the neuropathology of HD is emphasized by a brain distribution pattern of neurodegeneration (i) which apart from the striatum includes the cerebral neo-and allocortex, thalamus, pallidum, brainstem and cerebellum, and which (ii) therefore, shares more similarities with polyglutamine spinocerebellar ataxias than previously thought. © 2016 International Society of Neuropathology.

  17. Increased Steady-State Mutant Huntingtin mRNA in Huntington's Disease Brain.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wanzhao; Chaurette, Joanna; Pfister, Edith L; Kennington, Lori A; Chase, Kathryn O; Bullock, Jocelyn; Vonsattel, Jean Paul G; Faull, Richard L M; Macdonald, Douglas; DiFiglia, Marian; Zamore, Phillip D; Aronin, Neil

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease is caused by expansion of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the first exon of the huntingtin gene, which is essential for both development and neurogenesis. Huntington's disease is autosomal dominant. The normal allele contains 6 to 35 CAG triplets (average, 18) and the mutant, disease-causing allele contains >36 CAG triplets (average, 42). We examined 279 postmortem brain samples, including 148 HD and 131 non-HD controls. A total of 108 samples from 87 HD patients that are heterozygous at SNP rs362307, with a normal allele (18 to 27 CAG repeats) and a mutant allele (39 to 73 CAG repeats) were used to measure relative abundance of mutant and wild-type huntingtin mRNA. We used allele-specific, quantitative RT-PCR based on SNP heterozygosity to estimate the relative amount of mutant versus normal huntingtin mRNA in postmortem brain samples from patients with Huntington's disease. In the cortex and striatum, the amount of mRNA from the mutant allele exceeds that from the normal allele in 75% of patients. In the cerebellum, no significant difference between the two alleles was evident. Brain tissues from non-HD controls show no significant difference between two alleles of huntingtin mRNAs. Allelic differences were more pronounced at early neuropathological grades (grades 1 and 2) than at late grades (grades 3 and 4). More mutant HTT than normal could arise from increased transcription of mutant HTT allele, or decreased clearance of mutant HTT mRNA, or both. An implication is that equimolar silencing of both alleles would increase the mutant HTT to normal HTT ratio.

  18. Sodium phenylbutyrate in Huntington's disease: a dose-finding study.

    PubMed

    Hogarth, Penelope; Lovrecic, Luca; Krainc, Dimitri

    2007-10-15

    Transcriptional dysregulation in Huntington's disease (HD) is mediated in part by aberrant patterns of histone acetylation. We performed a dose-finding study in human HD of sodium phenylbutyrate (SPB), a histone deacetylase inhibitor that ameliorates the HD phenotype in animal models. We used a dose-escalation/de-escalation design, using prespecified toxicity criteria and standard clinical and laboratory safety measures. The maximum tolerated dose was 15 g/day. At higher doses, toxicity included vomiting, lightheadedness, confusion, and gait instability. We saw no significant laboratory or electrocardiographic abnormalities. Gene expression changes in blood suggested an inverse dose-response. In conclusion, SPB at 12 to 15 g/day appears to be safe and well-tolerated in human HD. 2007 Movement Disorder Society

  19. Experiences of teens living in the shadow of Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Sparbel, Kathleen J. H.; Driessnack, Martha; Williams, Janet K.; Schutte, Debra L.; Tripp-Reimer, Toni; McGonigal-Kenney, Meghan; Jarmon, Lori; Paulsen, Jane S.

    2010-01-01

    Research on families with Huntington Disease (HD) has primarily focused on adult decision-making surrounding predictive genetic testing and caregiver stress. Little is known about the experiences of teens living in these families. This qualitative study explored the experiences of 32 teens living in families with HD. Six focus groups were conducted across the U.S. and Canada. Data were analyzed using descriptive qualitative analysis. HD appeared to cast a shadow over the experiences described by teens. Four themes were identified: Watching and waiting; Alone in the midst of others; Family life is kind of hard; and Having to be like an adult. These experiences highlight the need for genetic counselors, health care providers, and school personnel to be aware of issues facing teens living in families with HD. Recognizing patterns of teen experiences may help health care providers develop strategies to support coping by teens in HD families. PMID:18347962

  20. Trinucleotide repeat length and progression of illness in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Kieburtz, K; MacDonald, M; Shih, C; Feigin, A; Steinberg, K; Bordwell, K; Zimmerman, C; Srinidhi, J; Sotack, J; Gusella, J

    1994-11-01

    The genetic defect causing Huntington's disease (HD) has been identified as an unstable expansion of a trinucleotide (CAG) repeat sequence within the coding region of the IT15 gene on chromosome 4. In 50 patients with manifest HD who were evaluated prospectively and uniformly, we examined the relationship between the extent of the DNA expansion and the rate of illness progression. Although the length of CAG repeats showed a strong inverse correlation with the age at onset of HD, there was no such relationship between the number of CAG repeats and the rate of clinical decline. These findings suggest that the CAG repeat length may influence or trigger the onset of HD, but other genetic, neurobiological, or environmental factors contribute to the progression of illness and the underlying pace of neuronal degeneration.

  1. Trinucleotide repeat length and progression of illness in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed Central

    Kieburtz, K; MacDonald, M; Shih, C; Feigin, A; Steinberg, K; Bordwell, K; Zimmerman, C; Srinidhi, J; Sotack, J; Gusella, J

    1994-01-01

    The genetic defect causing Huntington's disease (HD) has been identified as an unstable expansion of a trinucleotide (CAG) repeat sequence within the coding region of the IT15 gene on chromosome 4. In 50 patients with manifest HD who were evaluated prospectively and uniformly, we examined the relationship between the extent of the DNA expansion and the rate of illness progression. Although the length of CAG repeats showed a strong inverse correlation with the age at onset of HD, there was no such relationship between the number of CAG repeats and the rate of clinical decline. These findings suggest that the CAG repeat length may influence or trigger the onset of HD, but other genetic, neurobiological, or environmental factors contribute to the progression of illness and the underlying pace of neuronal degeneration. PMID:7853373

  2. Caregiving by Teens for Family Members With Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Janet K.; Ayres, Lioness; Specht, Janet; Sparbel, Kathleen; Klimek, Mary Lou

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to describe caregiving by teens for family members with Huntington disease (HD). Thirty-two teens in HD families in the United States and Canada participated in focus groups from 2002 to 2005 in a study to identify concerns and strategies to manage concerns. An unexpected finding was 24 (77%) described caregiving activities. Descriptive analysis of caregiving statements identified themes of Tasks and Responsibilities, Subjective Burden, Caregiving in Context of Personal Risk for HD, and Decisional Responsibility. Teens took an active part in nearly all aspects of care with the exception of contacting health care providers and attending doctors’ appointments. Some described emotional distress, and many provided care knowing they had the potential to develop HD. Teens recognized the need for decisions but lacked the authority to make these decisions. Findings may be relevant for other teens who strive to meet caregiver and student roles and developmental tasks. PMID:19465560

  3. The co-occurrence of Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease: a neuropathological study of 15 elderly Huntington's disease subjects.

    PubMed

    Davis, Marie Y; Keene, C Dirk; Jayadev, Suman; Bird, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    Dementia is a common feature in both Huntington's disease (HD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), as well as in the general elderly population. Few studies have examined elderly HD patients with dementia for neuropathologic evidence of both HD and AD. We present neuropathological findings in a retrospective case series of 15 elderly HD patients (ages 60-91 years), 11 of whom had prominent clinical dementia. Post-mortem brain tissue was examined and stained for evidence of both HD and AD including Vonsattel grading and Htt-repeat expansion, Bielskowsky, tau, β amyloid, and TDP43 immunostaining. Mean age at death was 76.8 years, mean disease duration was 18.6 years, and mean CAG repeat expansion was 42. Evidence of AD in addition to HD pathology was present in 9 of 11 (82%) patients with prominent dementia, suggesting that AD may be more commonly co-occurring with HD than previously appreciated. Two patients had only HD as the basis of dementia and four patients did not have prominent dementia. One patient with marked parkinsonian features was not L-dopa responsive and had no substantia nigra Lewy bodies at autopsy. Our study suggests that AD may frequently contribute to cognitive decline in elderly HD patients which complicates the assessment and management of such individuals. Further study is needed to determine if there is a higher incidence of AD in persons with HD compared to the general population. In addition, our series includes one HD patient whose clinical features masqueraded as Parkinson's disease but was not responsive to levodopa therapy.

  4. Discrepancies in reporting the CAG repeat lengths for Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Quarrell, Oliver W; Handley, Olivia; O'Donovan, Kirsty; Dumoulin, Christine; Ramos-Arroyo, Maria; Biunno, Ida; Bauer, Peter; Kline, Margaret; Landwehrmeyer, G Bernhard

    2012-01-01

    Huntington's disease results from a CAG repeat expansion within the Huntingtin gene; this is measured routinely in diagnostic laboratories. The European Huntington's Disease Network REGISTRY project centrally measures CAG repeat lengths on fresh samples; these were compared with the original results from 121 laboratories across 15 countries. We report on 1326 duplicate results; a discrepancy in reporting the upper allele occurred in 51% of cases, this reduced to 13.3% and 9.7% when we applied acceptable measurement errors proposed by the American College of Medical Genetics and the Draft European Best Practice Guidelines, respectively. Duplicate results were available for 1250 lower alleles; discrepancies occurred in 40% of cases. Clinically significant discrepancies occurred in 4.0% of cases with a potential unexplained misdiagnosis rate of 0.3%. There was considerable variation in the discrepancy rate among 10 of the countries participating in this study. Out of 1326 samples, 348 were re-analysed by an accredited diagnostic laboratory, based in Germany, with concordance rates of 93% and 94% for the upper and lower alleles, respectively. This became 100% if the acceptable measurement errors were applied. The central laboratory correctly reported allele sizes for six standard reference samples, blind to the known result. Our study differs from external quality assessment (EQA) schemes in that these are duplicate results obtained from a large sample of patients across the whole diagnostic range. We strongly recommend that laboratories state an error rate for their measurement on the report, participate in EQA schemes and use reference materials regularly to adjust their own internal standards. PMID:21811303

  5. Tapping linked to function and structure in premanifest and symptomatic Huntington disease(e–Pub ahead of print)

    PubMed Central

    Bechtel, N.; Scahill, R.I.; Rosas, H.D.; Acharya, T.; van den Bogaard, S.J.A.; Jauffret, C.; Say, M.J.; Sturrock, A.; Johnson, H.; Onorato, C.E.; Salat, D.H.; Durr, A.; Leavitt, B.R.; Roos, R.A.C.; Landwehrmeyer, G.B.; Langbehn, D.R.; Stout, J.C.; Tabrizi, S.J.; Reilmann, R.

    2010-01-01

    Objective: Motor signs are functionally disabling features of Huntington disease. Characteristic motor signs define disease manifestation. Their severity and onset are assessed by the Total Motor Score of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale, a categorical scale limited by interrater variability and insensitivity in premanifest subjects. More objective, reliable, and precise measures are needed which permit clinical trials in premanifest populations. We hypothesized that motor deficits can be objectively quantified by force-transducer-based tapping and correlate with disease burden and brain atrophy. Methods: A total of 123 controls, 120 premanifest, and 123 early symptomatic gene carriers performed a speeded and a metronome tapping task in the multicenter study TRACK-HD. Total Motor Score, CAG repeat length, and MRIs were obtained. The premanifest group was subdivided into A and B, based on the proximity to estimated disease onset, the manifest group into stages 1 and 2, according to their Total Functional Capacity scores. Analyses were performed centrally and blinded. Results: Tapping variability distinguished between all groups and subgroups in both tasks and correlated with 1) disease burden, 2) clinical motor phenotype, 3) gray and white matter atrophy, and 4) cortical thinning. Speeded tapping was more sensitive to the detection of early changes. Conclusion: Tapping deficits are evident throughout manifest and premanifest stages. Deficits are more pronounced in later stages and correlate with clinical scores as well as regional brain atrophy, which implies a link between structure and function. The ability to track motor phenotype progression with force-transducer-based tapping measures will be tested prospectively in the TRACK-HD study. GLOSSARY CoV = coefficient of variation; DBS = disease burden score; Freq = frequency; HD = Huntington disease; ICV = intracranial volume; IOI = interonset interval; ΔIOI = deviation from interonset interval; IPI

  6. Dietary anaplerotic therapy improves peripheral tissue energy metabolism in patients with Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Mochel, Fanny; Duteil, Sandrine; Marelli, Cécilia; Jauffret, Céline; Barles, Agnès; Holm, Janette; Sweetman, Lawrence; Benoist, Jean-François; Rabier, Daniel; Carlier, Pierre G; Durr, Alexandra

    2010-01-01

    We previously identified a systemic metabolic defect associated with early weight loss in patients with Huntington's disease (HD), suggesting a lack of substrates for the Krebs cycle. Dietary anaplerotic therapy with triheptanoin is used in clinical trials to promote energy production in patients with peripheral and brain Krebs cycle deficit, as its metabolites – C5 ketone bodies – cross the blood–brain barrier. We conducted a short-term clinical trial in six HD patients (UHDRS (Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale)=33±13, 15–49) to monitor the tolerability of triheptanoin. We also assessed peripheral markers of short-term efficacy that were shown to be altered in the early stages of HD, that is, low serum IGF1 and 31P-NMR spectroscopy (NMRS) in muscle. At baseline, 31P-NMRS displayed two patients with end-exercise muscle acidosis despite a low work output. On day 2, the introduction of triheptanoin was well tolerated in all patients, and in particular, there was no evidence of mitochondrial overload from triheptanoin-derived metabolites. After 4 days of triheptanoin-enriched diet, muscle pH regulation was normalized in the two patients with pretreatment metabolic abnormalities. A significant increase in serum IGF1 was also observed in all patients (205±60 ng/ml versus 246±68 ng/ml, P=0.010). This study provides a rationale for extending our anaplerotic approach with triheptanoin in HD. PMID:20512158

  7. The Huntington disease locus is most likely within 325 kilobases of the chromosome 4p telomere

    SciT

    Doggett, N.A.; Cheng, J.F.; Smith, C.L.

    1989-12-01

    The genetic defect responsible for Huntington disease was originally localized near the tip of the short arm of chromosome 4 by genetic linkage to the locus D4S10. Several markers closer to Huntington disease have since been isolated, but these all appear to be proximal to the defect. A physical map that extends from the most distal of these loci, D4S90, to the telomere of chromosome 4 was constructed. This map identifies at least two CpG islands as markers for Huntington disease candidate genes and places the most likely location of the Huntington disease defect remarkably close (within 325 kilobases) tomore » the telomere.« less

  8. Therapeutic approaches to preventing cell death in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Kaplan, Anna; Stockwell, Brent R

    2012-12-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases affect the lives of millions of patients and their families. Due to the complexity of these diseases and our limited understanding of their pathogenesis, the design of therapeutic agents that can effectively treat these diseases has been challenging. Huntington disease (HD) is one of several neurological disorders with few therapeutic options. HD, like numerous other neurodegenerative diseases, involves extensive neuronal cell loss. One potential strategy to combat HD and other neurodegenerative disorders is to intervene in the execution of neuronal cell death. Inhibiting neuronal cell death pathways may slow the development of neurodegeneration. However, discovering small molecule inhibitors of neuronal cell death remains a significant challenge. Here, we review candidate therapeutic targets controlling cell death mechanisms that have been the focus of research in HD, as well as an emerging strategy that has been applied to developing small molecule inhibitors-fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD). FBDD has been successfully used in both industry and academia to identify selective and potent small molecule inhibitors, with a focus on challenging proteins that are not amenable to traditional high-throughput screening approaches. FBDD has been used to generate potent leads, pre-clinical candidates, and has led to the development of an FDA approved drug. This approach can be valuable for identifying modulators of cell-death-regulating proteins; such compounds may prove to be the key to halting the progression of HD and other neurodegenerative disorders. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Therapeutic approaches to preventing cell death in Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Kaplan, Anna; Stockwell, Brent R.

    2012-01-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases affect the lives of millions of patients and their families. Due to the complexity of these diseases and our limited understanding of their pathogenesis, the design of therapeutic agents that can effectively treat these diseases has been challenging. Huntington disease (HD) is one of several neurological disorders with few therapeutic options. HD, like numerous other neurodegenerative diseases, involves extensive neuronal cell loss. One potential strategy to combat HD and other neurodegenerative disorders is to intervene in the execution of neuronal cell death. Inhibiting neuronal cell death pathways may slow the development of neurodegeneration. However, discovering small molecule inhibitors of neuronal cell death remains a significant challenge. Here, we review candidate therapeutic targets controlling cell death mechanisms that have been the focus of research in HD, as well as an emerging strategy that has been applied to developing small molecule inhibitors—fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD). FBDD has been successfully used in both industry and academia to identify selective and potent small molecule inhibitors, with a focus on challenging proteins that are not amenable to traditional high-throughput screening approaches. FBDD has been used to generate potent leads, pre-clinical candidates, and has led to the development of an FDA approved drug. This approach can be valuable for identifying modulators of cell-death-regulating proteins; such compounds may prove to be the key to halting the progression of HD and other neurodegenerative disorders. PMID:22967354

  10. Surveying the landscape of Huntington's disease mechanisms, measurements, and medicines.

    PubMed

    Crook, Zachary R; Housman, David E

    2013-01-01

    Though 20 years have now passed since the cloning of the huntingtin gene (HTT), there remains no treatment for Huntington's Disease (HD) that alters the course of disease or lifespan of patients. The reasons for this are manifold, and likely have to do with the diverse cellular pathways disrupted by mutant HTT (mHTT) protein expression. Furthermore, the evaluation of efficacy using a putative intervention is complex, largely due to the slow course of disease and variability in the classic techniques for evaluating patient symptoms and quality of life, which make the patient populations and duration of trials particularly imposing. However, there are signs for hope both in the clinic and at the bench. This review serves three purposes. It discusses the known cellular pathologies in HD, the current and upcoming methods for clinical evaluation of disease progress, and the tested and untested interventions proposed to counter the progression in animal models and patients. With the vast knowledge of pathology accumulated over two decades of modeling HD in animals and following it in patients, as well as the advances in intervention techniques both pharmaceutical and genetic, there is reason for optimism in the field. Such optimism can only be tempered by the lack of success in the clinic to this point, though patients, scientists, and clinicians all remain enthusiastic about each new trial, and progress can only continue until an effective treatment is found.

  11. Predicting clinical diagnosis in Huntington's disease: An imaging polymarker

    PubMed Central

    Daws, Richard E.; Soreq, Eyal; Johnson, Eileanoir B.; Scahill, Rachael I.; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Barker, Roger A.; Hampshire, Adam

    2018-01-01

    Objective Huntington's disease (HD) gene carriers can be identified before clinical diagnosis; however, statistical models for predicting when overt motor symptoms will manifest are too imprecise to be useful at the level of the individual. Perfecting this prediction is integral to the search for disease modifying therapies. This study aimed to identify an imaging marker capable of reliably predicting real‐life clinical diagnosis in HD. Method A multivariate machine learning approach was applied to resting‐state and structural magnetic resonance imaging scans from 19 premanifest HD gene carriers (preHD, 8 of whom developed clinical disease in the 5 years postscanning) and 21 healthy controls. A classification model was developed using cross‐group comparisons between preHD and controls, and within the preHD group in relation to “estimated” and “actual” proximity to disease onset. Imaging measures were modeled individually, and combined, and permutation modeling robustly tested classification accuracy. Results Classification performance for preHDs versus controls was greatest when all measures were combined. The resulting polymarker predicted converters with high accuracy, including those who were not expected to manifest in that time scale based on the currently adopted statistical models. Interpretation We propose that a holistic multivariate machine learning treatment of brain abnormalities in the premanifest phase can be used to accurately identify those patients within 5 years of developing motor features of HD, with implications for prognostication and preclinical trials. Ann Neurol 2018;83:532–543 PMID:29405351

  12. Perceptions of genetic discrimination among people at risk for Huntington's disease: a cross sectional survey.

    PubMed

    Bombard, Yvonne; Veenstra, Gerry; Friedman, Jan M; Creighton, Susan; Currie, Lauren; Paulsen, Jane S; Bottorff, Joan L; Hayden, Michael R

    2009-06-09

    To assess the nature and prevalence of genetic discrimination experienced by people at risk for Huntington's disease who had undergone genetic testing or remained untested. Cross sectional, self reported survey. Seven genetics and movement disorders clinics servicing rural and urban communities in Canada. 233 genetically tested and untested asymptomatic people at risk for Huntington's disease (response rate 80%): 167 underwent testing (83 had the Huntington's disease mutation, 84 did not) and 66 chose not to be tested. Self reported experiences of genetic discrimination and related psychological distress based on family history or genetic test results. Discrimination was reported by 93 respondents (39.9%). Reported experiences occurred most often in insurance (29.2%), family (15.5%), and social (12.4%) settings. There were few reports of discrimination in employment (6.9%), health care (8.6%), or public sector settings (3.9%). Although respondents who were aware that they carried the Huntington's disease mutation reported the highest levels of discrimination, participation in genetic testing was not associated with increased levels of genetic discrimination. Family history of Huntington's disease, rather than the result of genetic testing, was the main reason given for experiences of genetic discrimination. Psychological distress was associated with genetic discrimination (P<0.001). Genetic discrimination was commonly reported by people at risk for Huntington's disease and was a source of psychological distress. Family history, and not genetic testing, was the major reason for genetic discrimination.

  13. Huntingtons Disease: The Value of Transcranial Meganetic Stimulation

    PubMed

    Medina, F J; Túnez, I

    2010-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative process whose etiology is based on a localized disturbance in the short arm of chromosome 4 that encodes the huntingtin protein (Htt). The elongation of triple CAG for glutamine characterizes this change. Mutated Htt (mHtt) causes the appearance of intracellular aggregates inducing alterations in mitochondrial metabolism in the form of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ATP depletion. The oxidative imbalance caused by mHtt leads the neurons to a state of oxidative stress resulting in damage to macromolecules and cellular death. Since the discovery of certain mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of HD, several therapeutic procedures have been shown to delay or slow the evolution of the condition and have demonstrated the biochemical and molecular mechanism involved. The studies have reported that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may improve motor and other symptoms associated with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric processes such as major depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive muscle atrophy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or HD. This study focuses on the effect of TMS on oxidative stress and neurogenesis in studies and its possible usefulness in HD.

  14. Predictive gene testing for Huntington disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

    PubMed

    Wedderburn, S; Panegyres, P K; Andrew, S; Goldblatt, J; Liebeck, T; McGrath, F; Wiltshire, M; Pestell, C; Lee, J; Beilby, J

    2013-12-01

    Controversies exist around predictive testing (PT) programmes in neurodegenerative disorders. This study sets out to answer the following questions relating to Huntington disease (HD) and other neurodegenerative disorders: differences between these patients in their PT journeys, why and when individuals withdraw from PT, and decision-making processes regarding reproductive genetic testing. A case series analysis of patients having PT from the multidisciplinary Western Australian centre for PT over the past 20 years was performed using internationally recognised guidelines for predictive gene testing in neurodegenerative disorders. Of 740 at-risk patients, 518 applied for PT: 466 at risk of HD, 52 at risk of other neurodegenerative disorders - spinocerebellar ataxias, hereditary prion disease and familial Alzheimer disease. Thirteen percent withdrew from PT - 80.32% of withdrawals occurred during counselling stages. Major withdrawal reasons related to timing in the patients' lives or unknown as the patient did not disclose the reason. Thirty-eight HD individuals had reproductive genetic testing: 34 initiated prenatal testing (of which eight withdrew from the process) and four initiated pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. There was no recorded or other evidence of major psychological reactions or suicides during PT. People withdrew from PT in relation to life stages and reasons that are unknown. Our findings emphasise the importance of: (i) adherence to internationally recommended guidelines for PT; (ii) the role of the multidisciplinary team in risk minimisation; and (iii) patient selection. © 2013 The Authors; Internal Medicine Journal © 2013 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

  15. Mitochondrial DNA levels in Huntington disease leukocytes and dermal fibroblasts.

    PubMed

    Jędrak, Paulina; Krygier, Magdalena; Tońska, Katarzyna; Drozd, Małgorzata; Kaliszewska, Magdalena; Bartnik, Ewa; Sołtan, Witold; Sitek, Emilia J; Stanisławska-Sachadyn, Anna; Limon, Janusz; Sławek, Jarosław; Węgrzyn, Grzegorz; Barańska, Sylwia

    2017-08-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in the huntingtin gene. Involvement of mitochondrial dysfunctions in, and especially influence of the level of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on, development of this disease is unclear. Here, samples of blood from 84 HD patients and 79 controls, and dermal fibroblasts from 10 HD patients and 9 controls were analysed for mtDNA levels. Although the type of mitochondrial haplogroup had no influence on the mtDNA level, and there was no correlation between mtDNA level in leukocytes in HD patients and various parameters of HD severity, some considerable differences between HD patients and controls were identified. The average mtDNA/nDNA relative copy number was significantly higher in leukocytes, but lower in fibroblasts, of symptomatic HD patients relative to the control group. Moreover, HD women displayed higher mtDNA levels in leukocytes than HD men. Because this is the largest population analysed to date, these results might contribute to explanation of discrepancies between previously published studies concerning levels of mtDNA in cells of HD patients. We suggest that the size of the investigated population and type of cells from which DNA is isolated could significantly affect results of mtDNA copy number estimation in HD. Hence, these parameters should be taken into consideration in studies on mtDNA in HD, and perhaps also in other diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction occurs.

  16. Huntington Disease: Linking Pathogenesis to the Development of Experimental Therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Mestre, Tiago A; Sampaio, Cristina

    2017-02-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative condition caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the huntingtin gene. At present, the HD field is experiencing exciting times with the assessment for the first time in human subjects of interventions aimed at core disease mechanisms. Out of a portfolio of interventions that claim a potential disease-modifying effect in HD, the target huntingtin has more robust validation. In this review, we discuss the spectrum of huntingtin-lowering therapies that are currently being considered. We provide a critical appraisal of the validation of huntingtin as a drug target, describing the advantages, challenges, and limitations of the proposed therapeutic interventions. The development of these new therapies relies strongly on the knowledge of HD pathogenesis and the ability to translate this knowledge into validated pharmacodynamic biomarkers. Altogether, the goal is to support a rational drug development that is ethical and cost-effective. Among the pharmacodynamic biomarkers under development, the quantification of mutant huntingtin in the cerebral spinal fluid and PET imaging targeting huntingtin or phosphodiesterase 10A deserve special attention. Huntingtin-lowering therapeutics are eagerly awaited as the first interventions that may be able to change the course of HD in a meaningful way.

  17. Interventional differences among Huntington's disease patients by disease progression in commercial and medicaid populations.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Karen E; Divino, Victoria; DeKoven, Mitch; Langbehn, Douglas; Warner, John H; Giuliano, Joseph; Lee, Won Chan

    2014-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that spans distinct disease stages over 15-20 years. Various interventions are available which may allow patients to live outside of a nursing home for a longer time. However, little is known about use of these interventions by disease stage and by insurance type. We compared use of interventions among early, middle and late stages of HD in commercial (C) and Medicaid (M) health insurance populations. HD patients (ICD-9-CM 333.4) were identified from Thomson Reuters' MarketScan C and M database (2002-2009) and hierarchically grouped into disease stages based upon the presence of defining clinical markers. A total of 1,272 HD patients (752/520 C/M) were identified. While stage distribution was nearly uniform in the C database - 34.0/35.5/34.0% (early/middle/late stage) - in the M population the majority were late stage (74.0%). Overall mean age was similar between C and M populations. Among late-stage patients, more M patients resided in a nursing home (M:73.8% v. C:40.6%) and received hospice care (M:18.4% v. C:11.3%). Physical therapy (PT) and home assistance were the most frequent interventions used by middle-stage patients, however more C patients received PT (C:64.0% v. M:37.1%) while more M patients received home assistance (M:75.3% v. C:53.2%). Among late-stage patients, PT was also higher in the C population (56.3% v. 48.3%). More M patients had assistive devices at home in both middle (M:25.8% v. C:9.7%) and late stages (M:35.6% v.C:23.4%). Apparent interventional differences emerged which varied by disease stage and insurance type.

  18. Alpha-theta border EEG abnormalities in preclinical Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Ponomareva, Natalya; Klyushnikov, Sergey; Abramycheva, Natalya; Malina, Daria; Scheglova, Nadejda; Fokin, Vitaly; Ivanova-Smolenskaia, Irina; Illarioshkin, Sergey

    2014-09-15

    Brain dysfunction precedes clinical manifestation of Huntington's disease (HD) by decades. This study was aimed to determine whether resting EEG is altered in preclinical HD mutations carriers (pre-HD). We examined relative power of broad traditional EEG bands as well as 1-Hz sub-bands of theta and alpha from the resting-state EEG of 29 pre-HD individuals and of 29 age-matched normal controls. The relative power of the narrow sub-band in the border of theta-alpha (7-8 Hz) was significantly reduced in pre-HD subjects as compared to normal controls, while the alterations in relative power of the broad frequency bands were not significant. In pre-HD subjects, the number of CAG repeats in the huntingtin (HTT) gene as well as the disease burden score (DBS) showed a positive correlation with relative power of the delta and theta frequency bands and their sub-bands and a negative correlation with alpha band relative power and the differences of relative power of the 7-8 Hz and 4-5 Hz frequency sub-bands. The obtained results suggest that EEG alterations in pre-HD individuals may be related to the course of the pathological process and to HD endophenotype. Analysis of the narrow EEG bands was found to be more useful for assessing EEG alterations in pre-HD individuals than a more traditional approach using broad bandwidths. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Huntington disease without CAG expansion: Phenocopies or errors in assignment

    SciT

    Andrew, S.E.; Goldberg, Y.P.; Kremer, B.

    1994-05-01

    Huntington disease (HD) has been shown to be associated with an expanded CAG repeat within a novel gene on 4p16.3 (IT15). A total of 30 of 1,022 affected persons (2.9% of the cohort) did not have an expanded CAG in the disease range. The reasons for not observing expansion in affected individuals are important for determining the sensitivity of using repeat length both for diagnosis of affected patients and for predictive testing programs and may have biological relevance for the understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying HD. Here the authors show that the majority (18) of the individuals with normalmore » sized alleles represent misdiagnosis, sample mix-up, or clerical error. The remaining 12 patients represent possible phenocopies for HD. In at least four cases, family studies of these phenocopies excluded 4p16.3 as the region responsible for the phenotype. Mutations in the HD gene that are other than CAG expansion have not been excluded for the remaining eight cases, however, in as many as seven of these persons, retrospective review of these patients' clinical features identified characteristics not typical for HD. This study shows that on rare occasions mutations in other, as-yet-undefined genes can present with a clinical phenotype very similar to that of HD. 30 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.« less

  20. The neuropsychology of first impressions: Evidence from Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Sprengelmeyer, Reiner; Young, Andrew W; Baldas, Eva-Maria; Ratheiser, Iris; Sutherland, Clare A M; Müller, Hans-Peter; Grön, Georg; Süssmuth, Sigurd D; Landwehrmeyer, G Bernhard; Orth, Michael

    2016-12-01

    Impairments of emotion recognition have been widely documented in Huntington's disease (HD), but little is known concerning how these relate to other aspects of social cognition, including first impressions of traits such as trustworthiness and dominance. Here, we introduce a novel and sensitive method to investigate the ability to evaluate trustworthiness and dominance from facial appearance, with control tasks measuring ability to perceive differences between comparable stimuli. We used this new method together with standard tests of face perception to investigate social cognition in HD. We found that a subgroup of people with HD was impaired at perceiving trustworthiness and dominance, and that perceiving trustworthiness and dominance were correlated with impaired facial expression recognition. In addition, we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to provisionally identify candidate brain regions associated with social cognition by contrasting regional functional anisotropy (FA) measures between subgroups of HD participants showing normal or impaired perception of trustworthiness and dominance, and by correlating these regional brain abnormalities with behavioural performance on tests of emotion recognition. In this way we show for the first time alterations in perception of trustworthiness and dominance in people with HD and link these to regions which may map the boundaries of the social brain. The pattern of breakdown seen in this neurodegenerative disease can thus be used to explore potential inter-relationships between different components of social cognition. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Cognitive and behavioral changes in Huntington disease before diagnosis.

    PubMed

    Paulsen, Jane S; Miller, Amanda C; Hayes, Terry; Shaw, Emily

    2017-01-01

    Phenotypic manifestations of Huntington disease (HD) can be detected at least 15 years prior to the time when a motor diagnosis is given. Advances in clinical care and future research will require consistent use of HD definitions and HD premanifest (prodromal) stages being used across clinics, sites, and countries. Cognitive and behavioral (psychiatric) changes in HD are summarized and implications for ongoing advancement in our knowledge of prodromal HD are suggested. The earliest detected cognitive changes are observed in the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, Stroop Interference, Stroop Color and Word Test-interference condition, and Trail Making Test. Cognitive changes in the middle and near motor diagnostic stages of prodromal HD involve nearly every cognitive test administered and the greatest changes over time (i.e., slopes) are found in those prodromal HD participants who are nearest to motor diagnosis. Psychiatric changes demonstrate significant worsening over time and remain elevated compared with healthy controls throughout the prodromal disease course. Psychiatric and behavior changes in prodromal HD are much lower than that obtained using cognitive assessment, although the psychiatric and behavioral changes represent symptoms most debilitating to independent capacity and wellness. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Total recognition discriminability in Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

    PubMed

    Graves, Lisa V; Holden, Heather M; Delano-Wood, Lisa; Bondi, Mark W; Woods, Steven Paul; Corey-Bloom, Jody; Salmon, David P; Delis, Dean C; Gilbert, Paul E

    2017-03-01

    Both the original and second editions of the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) provide an index of total recognition discriminability (TRD) but respectively utilize nonparametric and parametric formulas to compute the index. However, the degree to which population differences in TRD may vary across applications of these nonparametric and parametric formulas has not been explored. We evaluated individuals with Huntington's disease (HD), individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD), healthy middle-aged adults, and healthy older adults who were administered the CVLT-II. Yes/no recognition memory indices were generated, including raw nonparametric TRD scores (as used in CVLT-I) and raw and standardized parametric TRD scores (as used in CVLT-II), as well as false positive (FP) rates. Overall, the patient groups had significantly lower TRD scores than their comparison groups. The application of nonparametric and parametric formulas resulted in comparable effect sizes for all group comparisons on raw TRD scores. Relative to the HD group, the AD group showed comparable standardized parametric TRD scores (despite lower raw nonparametric and parametric TRD scores), whereas the previous CVLT literature has shown that standardized TRD scores are lower in AD than in HD. Possible explanations for the similarity in standardized parametric TRD scores in the HD and AD groups in the present study are discussed, with an emphasis on the importance of evaluating TRD scores in the context of other indices such as FP rates in an effort to fully capture recognition memory function using the CVLT-II.

  3. Plasma homovanillic acid and prolactin in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Markianos, Manolis; Panas, Marios; Kalfakis, Nikos; Vassilopoulos, Dimitrios

    2009-05-01

    Dopaminergic activity is expected to be altered in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) and be related to factors like duration and severity of illness or patients' specific symptomatology like dementia, depression, or psychotic features. We assessed plasma homovanillic acid (pHVA) and plasma prolactin (pPRL), two correlates of dopaminergic activity, in 116 subjects with CAG repeats expansion in the HD gene, 26 presymptomatic (18 females) and 90 with overt symptomatology (43 females). Patients were evaluated using the Unified HD Rating Scale and the Total Functional Capacity Scale. Presence of dementia, depression, and psychotic features were also assessed. The age range of the patients was 22-83 years, duration of illness from 0.5 to 27 years, and CAG repeat number from 34 to 66. A group of 60 age and sex matched healthy subjects served as control group. Plasma PRL in subjects at risk and in neuroleptic-free patients, evaluated separately for males and females, did not differ from controls. Plasma HVA levels did not differ from controls in the group of presymptomatic subjects, but were significantly higher in the patients group. This increase was positively associated mainly with severity of illness and functional capacity of the patients, and not with presence of depression or dementia. Plasma HVA levels may be proven to be a peripheral index of disease progression. Reducing dopaminergic activity may have not only symptomatic, but also neuroprotective effects in HD.

  4. A failure in energy metabolism and antioxidant uptake precede symptoms of Huntington's disease in mice.

    PubMed

    Acuña, Aníbal I; Esparza, Magdalena; Kramm, Carlos; Beltrán, Felipe A; Parra, Alejandra V; Cepeda, Carlos; Toro, Carlos A; Vidal, René L; Hetz, Claudio; Concha, Ilona I; Brauchi, Sebastián; Levine, Michael S; Castro, Maite A

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease has been associated with a failure in energy metabolism and oxidative damage. Ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant highly concentrated in the brain where it acts as a messenger, modulating neuronal metabolism. Using an electrophysiological approach in R6/2 HD slices, we observe an abnormal ascorbic acid flux from astrocytes to neurons, which is responsible for alterations in neuronal metabolic substrate preferences. Here using striatal neurons derived from knock-in mice expressing mutant huntingtin (STHdhQ cells), we study ascorbic acid transport. When extracellular ascorbic acid concentration increases, as occurs during synaptic activity, ascorbic acid transporter 2 (SVCT2) translocates to the plasma membrane, ensuring optimal ascorbic acid uptake for neurons. In contrast, SVCT2 from cells that mimic HD symptoms (dubbed HD cells) fails to reach the plasma membrane under the same conditions. We reason that an early impairment of ascorbic acid uptake in HD neurons could lead to early metabolic failure promoting neuronal death.

  5. A study of the Huntington's disease associated trinucleotide repeat in the Scottish population.

    PubMed Central

    Barron, L H; Warner, J P; Porteous, M; Holloway, S; Simpson, S; Davidson, R; Brock, D J

    1993-01-01

    Accurate measurements of a specific CAG repeat sequence in the Huntington's disease (HD) gene in 337 HD patients and 229 normal controls from the Scottish population showed a range from 35 to 62 repeats in affected subjects and eight to 33 in normal subjects. A link between early onset of symptoms and very high repeat number was seen. For HD patients with the most common affected allele sizes (39 to 42 repeats) absolute repeat size was a poor index for the age at onset of symptoms. There was variability in the transmitted repeat size for both sexes in the HD size range. We observed a significant increase of repeat size for paternal transmission of the disease and greater instability for paternally transmitted CAG repeats in the HD size range. Images PMID:8133495

  6. Couples’ Attributions for Work Function Changes in Prodromal Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Downing, Nancy R.; Williams, Janet K.; Paulsen, Jane S.

    2013-01-01

    People who have tested positive for the expanded Huntington disease (HD) gene who are not yet diagnosed (pre-HD) and their companions report subtle changes in ability of people with pre-HD to do their jobs. However, it is not known whether they attribute these changes to HD. Semi-structured telephone interviews were analyzed from seven persons with pre-HD at different estimated points from diagnosis and six companions. Data were analyzed using qualitative analysis methods. Participants made attributions related to health, work, and temperament. Only one participant attributed a change to HD. The process of forming attributions was demonstrated through symptom monitoring and comparison of participants with pre-HD to others with and without HD. Participants also expressed uncertainty regarding how to make attributions. Attributions influence coping procedures, including whether to seek and accept medical treatment. In persons with prodromal HD the relationship between attributions and use of coping strategies for symptoms that interfere with job functioning is unknown. PMID:20309619

  7. Predictive testing for Huntington's disease: relationship with partners after testing.

    PubMed

    Decruyenaere, M; Evers-Kiebooms, G; Cloostermans, T; Boogaerts, A; Demyttenaere, K; Dom, R; Fryns, J P

    2004-01-01

    This study focuses on the partner relationship of tested persons, 5 years after their predictive test result for Huntington's disease (HD). We describe changes in marital status, quality of the relationship, and perceived changes in the relationship. Twenty-six carriers, 14 of their partners, 33 non-carriers, and 17 of their partners participated in the study. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used. For the majority of tested persons (about 70%), the marital status was unchanged 5 years post test. Overall, carriers rated the quality of the relationship higher than their partners did and they perceived more positive changes. Qualitative data show that a test result leading to changed roles may induce significant marital distress. Another consequence of the test may be the changes in dynamics in asymptomatic carrier couples. A pre-test discussion of the possible impact of the test result on the relationship should result in a better preparation for and more understanding of the reactions after testing. Counselling after testing should stimulate an open communication between partners with consideration of needs and anxieties of both partners.

  8. Huntington's disease in Greece: the experience of 14 years.

    PubMed

    Panas, M; Karadima, G; Vassos, E; Kalfakis, N; Kladi, A; Christodoulou, K; Vassilopoulos, D

    2011-12-01

    A large scale genetic and epidemiological study of Huntington's disease (HD) was carried out in Greece from January 1995 to December 2008. Diagnostic testing was carried out in 461 symptomatic individuals, while 256 were tested for presymptomatic purposes. The diagnosis of HD with a CAG expansion ≥ 36 was confirmed in 278 symptomatic individuals. The prevalence of HD in Greece was estimated at approximately 2.5 to 5.4:100,000, while the mean minimum incidence was estimated at 2.2 to 4.4 per million per year. The molecular diagnosis of HD was confirmed in the majority of patients (84.4%) sent for confirmation. The false-positive cases 15.6% were characterized by the absence of a family history of HD and the presence of an atypical clinical picture. The uptake of predictive testing for HD was 8.6%. A prenatal test was requested in six pregnancies. The findings of our study do not differ significantly from those of similar studies from other European countries despite the relative genetic isolation of Greece. Of interest is the identification of clusters of HD in Greece. The presence or absence of a family history of HD should be interpreted cautiously, during the diagnostic process. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  9. Controlled clinical trial of cannabidiol in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Consroe, P; Laguna, J; Allender, J; Snider, S; Stern, L; Sandyk, R; Kennedy, K; Schram, K

    1991-11-01

    Based on encouraging preliminary findings, cannabidiol (CBD), a major nonpsychotropic constituent of Cannabis, was evaluated for symptomatic efficacy and safety in 15 neuroleptic-free patients with Huntington's Disease (HD). The effects of oral CBD (10 mg/kg/day for 6 weeks) and placebo (sesame oil for 6 weeks) were ascertained weekly under a double-blind, randomized cross-over design. A comparison of the effects of CBD and placebo on chorea severity and other therapeutic outcome variables, and on a Cannabis side effect inventory, clinical lab tests and other safety outcome variables, indicated no significant (p greater than 0.05) or clinically important differences. Correspondingly, plasma levels of CBD were assayed by GC/MS, and the weekly levels (mean range of 5.9 to 11.2 ng/ml) did not differ significantly over the 6 weeks of CBD administration. In summary, CBD, at an average daily dose of about 700 mg/day for 6 weeks, was neither symptomatically effective nor toxic, relative to placebo, in neuroleptic-free patients with HD.

  10. Pitfalls in the detection of cholesterol in Huntington's disease models.

    PubMed

    Marullo, Manuela; Valenza, Marta; Leoni, Valerio; Caccia, Claudio; Scarlatti, Chiara; De Mario, Agnese; Zuccato, Chiara; Di Donato, Stefano; Carafoli, Ernesto; Cattaneo, Elena

    2012-10-11

    Background Abnormalities in brain cholesterol homeostasis have been reported in Huntington's disease (HD), an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion in the number of CAG repeats in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. However, the results have been contradictory with respect to whether cholesterol levels increase or decrease in HD models. Biochemical and mass spectrometry methods show reduced levels of cholesterol precursors and cholesterol in HD cells and in the brains of several HD animal models. Abnormal brain cholesterol homeostasis was also inferred from studies in HD patients. In contrast, colorimetric and enzymatic methods indicate cholesterol accumulation in HD cells and tissues. Here we used several methods to investigate cholesterol levels in cultured cells in the presence or absence of mutant HTT protein. Results Colorimetric and enzymatic methods with low sensitivity gave variable results, whereas results from a sensitive analytical method, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, were more reliable. Sample preparation, high cell density and cell clonality also influenced the detection of intracellular cholesterol. Conclusions Detection of cholesterol in HD samples by colorimetric and enzymatic assays should be supplemented by detection using more sensitive analytical methods. Care must be taken to prepare the sample appropriately. By evaluating lathosterol levels using isotopic dilution mass spectrometry, we confirmed reduced cholesterol biosynthesis in knock-in cells expressing the polyQ mutation in a constitutive or inducible manner. *Correspondence should be addressed to Elena Cattaneo: elena.cattaneo@unimi.it.

  11. Measures of growth in children at risk for Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Mathews, Kathy; Schlaggar, Bradley; Perlmutter, Joel; Paulsen, Jane S.; Epping, Eric; Burmeister, Leon; Nopoulos, Peg

    2012-01-01

    Objective: The effect of mHTT on human development was examined by evaluating measures of growth in children at risk for Huntington disease (HD). Methods: Children at risk for HD with no manifest symptoms (no juvenile HD included) were enrolled and tested for gene expansion for research purposes only. Measurements of growth (height, weight, body mass index [BMI], and head circumference) in children tested as gene-expanded (n = 20, 7–18 years of age, CAG repeats ≥39) were compared to those of a large database of healthy children (n = 152, 7–18 years of age). Results: Gene-expanded children had significantly lower measures of head circumference, weight, and BMI. Head circumference was abnormally low even after correcting for height, suggesting a specific deficit in brain growth, rather than a global growth abnormality. Conclusions: These results indicate that, compared to a control population, children who were estimated to be decades from HD diagnosis have significant differences in growth. Further, they suggest that mHTT may play a role in atypical somatic, and in particular, brain development. PMID:22815549

  12. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Patients with Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Zuccato, Chiara; Mariotti, Caterina; Valenza, Marta; Lahiri, Nayana; Wild, Edward J.; Sassone, Jenny; Ciammola, Andrea; Bachoud-Lèvi, Anne Catherine; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Di Donato, Stefano; Cattaneo, Elena

    2011-01-01

    Reduced Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels have been described in a number of patho-physiological conditions, most notably, in Huntington's disease (HD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Since BDNF is also produced in blood, we have undertaken the measurement of its peripheral levels in the attempt to identify a possible link with HD prognosis and/or its progression. Here we evaluated BDNF level in 398 blood samples including 138 controls, 56 preHD, and 204 HD subjects. We found that BDNF protein levels were not reliably different between groups, whether measured in plasma (52 controls, 26 preHD, 105 HD) or serum (39 controls, 5 preHD, 29 HD). Our experience, and a re-analysis of the literature highlighted that intra-group variability and methodological aspects affect this measurement, especially in serum. We also assessed BDNF mRNA levels in blood samples from 47 controls, 25 preHD, and 70 HD subjects, and found no differences among the groups. We concluded that levels of BDNF in human blood were not informative (mRNA levels or plasma protein level) nor reliable (serum protein levels) as HD biomarkers. We also wish to warn the scientific community in interpreting the significance of changes measured in BDNF protein levels in serum from patients suffering from different conditions. PMID:21857974

  13. Making a measurable difference in advanced Huntington disease care.

    PubMed

    Moskowitz, Carol Brown; Rao, Ashwini K

    2017-01-01

    Neurologists' role in the care of people with advanced Huntington disease (HD) (total functional capacity <7), often limited by a lack of clinical research to support good practice, includes the following: (1) provide comprehensive health records to an interdisciplinary care staff before admission to a more intense care setting (home health services, day program, assisted living, group home, long-term skilled nursing facility, palliative care); (2) consult with and refer to rehabilitation (occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language pathology), behavioral and psychiatric professionals for problem-solving strategies, which must be reviewed with direct care staff before implementation; (3) encourage and support qualitative and quantitative interdisciplinary research studies, and randomized controlled studies of nonpharmacologic interventions; and (4) assist in the development of meaningful measures to further document what works to provide a good quality of life for the patient and family and a comfortable thoughtful approach to a good death. Collaborative models of care depend on: (1) clear communication; (2) ongoing education and support programs; with (3) pharmacologic and rehabilitation interventions, always in the context of respect for the person with HD, a preservation of the individuals' dignity, autonomy, and individual preferences. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Current Pharmacological Approaches to Reduce Chorea in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Coppen, Emma M; Roos, Raymund A C

    2017-01-01

    There are currently no effective pharmacological agents available to stop or prevent the progression of Huntington's disease (HD), a rare hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. In addition to psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairments, HD causes progressive motor disturbances, in particular choreiform movements, which are characterized by unwanted contractions of the facial muscles, trunk and extremities. Management of choreiform movements is usually advised if chorea interferes with daily functioning, causes social isolation, gait instability, falls, or physical injury. Although drugs to reduce chorea are available, only few randomized controlled studies have assessed the efficacy of these drugs, resulting in a high variety of prescribed drugs in clinical practice. The current pharmacological treatment options to reduce chorea in HD are outlined in this review, including the latest results on deutetrabenazine, a newly developed pharmacological agent similar to tetrabenazine, but with suggested less peak dose side effects. A review of the existing literature was conducted using the PubMed, Cochrane and Medline databases. In conclusion, mainly tetrabenazine, tiapride (in European countries), olanzapine, and risperidone are the preferred first choice drugs to reduce chorea among HD experts. In the existing literature, these drugs also show a beneficial effect on motor symptom severity and improvement of psychiatric symptoms. Generally, it is recommended to start with a low dose and increase the dose with close monitoring of any adverse effects. New interesting agents, such as deutetrabenazine and pridopidine, are currently under development and more randomized controlled trials are warranted to assess the efficacy on chorea severity in HD.

  15. Population-specific genetic modification of Huntington's disease in Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Chao, Michael J; Kim, Kyung-Hee; Shin, Jun Wan; Lucente, Diane; Wheeler, Vanessa C; Li, Hong; Roach, Jared C; Hood, Leroy; Wexler, Nancy S; Jardim, Laura B; Holmans, Peter; Jones, Lesley; Orth, Michael; Kwak, Seung; MacDonald, Marcy E; Gusella, James F; Lee, Jong-Min

    2018-05-01

    Modifiers of Mendelian disorders can provide insights into disease mechanisms and guide therapeutic strategies. A recent genome-wide association (GWA) study discovered genetic modifiers of Huntington's disease (HD) onset in Europeans. Here, we performed whole genome sequencing and GWA analysis of a Venezuelan HD cluster whose families were crucial for the original mapping of the HD gene defect. The Venezuelan HD subjects develop motor symptoms earlier than their European counterparts, implying the potential for population-specific modifiers. The main Venezuelan HD family inherits HTT haplotype hap.03, which differs subtly at the sequence level from European HD hap.03, suggesting a different ancestral origin but not explaining the earlier age at onset in these Venezuelans. GWA analysis of the Venezuelan HD cluster suggests both population-specific and population-shared genetic modifiers. Genome-wide significant signals at 7p21.2-21.1 and suggestive association signals at 4p14 and 17q21.2 are evident only in Venezuelan HD, but genome-wide significant association signals at the established European chromosome 15 modifier locus are improved when Venezuelan HD data are included in the meta-analysis. Venezuelan-specific association signals on chromosome 7 center on SOSTDC1, which encodes a bone morphogenetic protein antagonist. The corresponding SNPs are associated with reduced expression of SOSTDC1 in non-Venezuelan tissue samples, suggesting that interaction of reduced SOSTDC1 expression with a population-specific genetic or environmental factor may be responsible for modification of HD onset in Venezuela. Detection of population-specific modification in Venezuelan HD supports the value of distinct disease populations in revealing novel aspects of a disease and population-relevant therapeutic strategies.

  16. Population-specific genetic modification of Huntington's disease in Venezuela

    PubMed Central

    Chao, Michael J.; Kim, Kyung-Hee; Shin, Jun Wan; Lucente, Diane; Wheeler, Vanessa C.; Li, Hong; Roach, Jared C.; Hood, Leroy; Jardim, Laura B.; Jones, Lesley; Orth, Michael; Kwak, Seung; MacDonald, Marcy E.; Gusella, James F.

    2018-01-01

    Modifiers of Mendelian disorders can provide insights into disease mechanisms and guide therapeutic strategies. A recent genome-wide association (GWA) study discovered genetic modifiers of Huntington's disease (HD) onset in Europeans. Here, we performed whole genome sequencing and GWA analysis of a Venezuelan HD cluster whose families were crucial for the original mapping of the HD gene defect. The Venezuelan HD subjects develop motor symptoms earlier than their European counterparts, implying the potential for population-specific modifiers. The main Venezuelan HD family inherits HTT haplotype hap.03, which differs subtly at the sequence level from European HD hap.03, suggesting a different ancestral origin but not explaining the earlier age at onset in these Venezuelans. GWA analysis of the Venezuelan HD cluster suggests both population-specific and population-shared genetic modifiers. Genome-wide significant signals at 7p21.2–21.1 and suggestive association signals at 4p14 and 17q21.2 are evident only in Venezuelan HD, but genome-wide significant association signals at the established European chromosome 15 modifier locus are improved when Venezuelan HD data are included in the meta-analysis. Venezuelan-specific association signals on chromosome 7 center on SOSTDC1, which encodes a bone morphogenetic protein antagonist. The corresponding SNPs are associated with reduced expression of SOSTDC1 in non-Venezuelan tissue samples, suggesting that interaction of reduced SOSTDC1 expression with a population-specific genetic or environmental factor may be responsible for modification of HD onset in Venezuela. Detection of population-specific modification in Venezuelan HD supports the value of distinct disease populations in revealing novel aspects of a disease and population-relevant therapeutic strategies. PMID:29750799

  17. Convergent pathogenic pathways in Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease: Shared targets for drug development

    PubMed Central

    Ehrnhoefer, Dagmar E.; Wong, Bibiana K.Y.; Hayden, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases exemplified by Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease are characterized by the progressive neuropsychiatric dysfunction and loss of specific neuronal subtypes. Even though there are differences in the exact sites of pathology and clinical profiles only partially overlap, considerable similarities in disease mechanisms and pathogenic pathways can be observed. These shared mechanisms raise the possibility of common therapeutic targets for drug development. Huntington disease with a monogenic cause and the possibility to accurately identify pre-manifest mutation carriers could be exploited as a ‘model’ for Alzheimer’s disease to test the efficacy of therapeutic interventions targeting shared pathogenic pathways. PMID:22015920

  18. The therapeutic potential of G-protein coupled receptors in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Dowie, Megan J; Scotter, Emma L; Molinari, Emanuela; Glass, Michelle

    2010-11-01

    Huntington's disease is a late-onset autosomal dominant inherited neurodegenerative disease characterised by increased symptom severity over time and ultimately premature death. An expanded CAG repeat sequence in the huntingtin gene leads to a polyglutamine expansion in the expressed protein, resulting in complex dysfunctions including cellular excitotoxicity and transcriptional dysregulation. Symptoms include cognitive deficits, psychiatric changes and a movement disorder often referred to as Huntington's chorea, which involves characteristic involuntary dance-like writhing movements. Neuropathologically Huntington's disease is characterised by neuronal dysfunction and death in the striatum and cortex with an overall decrease in cerebral volume (Ho et al., 2001). Neuronal dysfunction begins prior to symptom presentation, and cells of particular vulnerability include the striatal medium spiny neurons. Huntington's is a devastating disease for patients and their families and there is currently no cure, or even an effective therapy for disease symptoms. G-protein coupled receptors are the most abundant receptor type in the central nervous system and are linked to complex downstream pathways, manipulation of which may have therapeutic application in many neurological diseases. This review will highlight the potential of G-protein coupled receptor drug targets as emerging therapies for Huntington's disease. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Altered fractal dynamics of gait: reduced stride-interval correlations with aging and Huntington's disease

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hausdorff, J. M.; Mitchell, S. L.; Firtion, R.; Peng, C. K.; Cudkowicz, M. E.; Wei, J. Y.; Goldberger, A. L.

    1997-01-01

    Fluctuations in the duration of the gait cycle (the stride interval) display fractal dynamics and long-range correlations in healthy young adults. We hypothesized that these stride-interval correlations would be altered by changes in neurological function associated with aging and certain disease states. To test this hypothesis, we compared the stride-interval time series of 1) healthy elderly subjects and young controls and of 2) subjects with Huntington's disease and healthy controls. Using detrended fluctuation analysis we computed alpha, a measure of the degree to which one stride interval is correlated with previous and subsequent intervals over different time scales. The scaling exponent alpha was significantly lower in elderly subjects compared with young subjects (elderly: 0.68 +/- 0.14; young: 0.87 +/- 0.15; P < 0.003). The scaling exponent alpha was also smaller in the subjects with Huntington's disease compared with disease-free controls (Huntington's disease: 0.60 +/- 0.24; controls: 0.88 +/-0.17; P < 0.005). Moreover, alpha was linearly related to degree of functional impairment in subjects with Huntington's disease (r = 0.78, P < 0.0005). These findings demonstrate that strike-interval fluctuations are more random (i.e., less correlated) in elderly subjects and in subjects with Huntington's disease. Abnormal alterations in the fractal properties of gait dynamics are apparently associated with changes in central nervous system control.

  20. Antidopaminergic Medication is Associated with More Rapidly Progressive Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Tedroff, Joakim; Waters, Susanna; Barker, Roger A; Roos, Raymund; Squitieri, Ferdinando

    2015-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder leading to progressive motor, cognitive and functional decline. Antidopaminergic medications (ADMs) are frequently used to treat chorea and behavioural disturbances in HD. We aimed to assess how the use of such medications was associated with the severity and progression of the motor aspects of the condition, given that there have been concerns that such drugs may actually promote neurological deterioration. Using multiple linear regression, supplemented by principal component analysis to explore the overall correlation patterns and help identify relevant covariates, we assessed severity and progression of motor symptoms and functional decline in 651 manifest patients from the REGISTRY cohort followed for two years. ADM treated versus non-treated subjects were compared with respect to motor impairment at baseline and progression rate by means of multiple regression, adjusting for CAG-repeat and age. Patients treated with ADMs had significantly worse motor scores with greater functional disability at their first visit. They also showed a higher annual rate of progression of motor signs and disability over the next two years. In particular the rate of progression for oculomotor symptoms and bradykinesia was markedly increased whereas the rate of progression of chorea and dystonia was similar for ADM and drug naïve patients. These differences in clinical severity and progression could not be explained by differences in disease burden, duration of disease or other possible prognostic factors. The results from this analysis suggest ADM treatment is associated with more advanced and rapidly progressing HD although whether these drugs are causative in driving this progression requires further, prospective studies.

  1. Mitochondrial loss, dysfunction and altered dynamics in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jinho; Moody, Jennifer P; Edgerly, Christina K; Bordiuk, Olivia L; Cormier, Kerry; Smith, Karen; Beal, M Flint; Ferrante, Robert J

    2010-10-15

    Although a direct causative pathway from the gene mutation to the selective neostriatal neurodegeneration remains unclear in Huntington's disease (HD), one putative pathological mechanism reported to play a prominent role in the pathogenesis of this neurological disorder is mitochondrial dysfunction. We examined mitochondria in preferentially vulnerable striatal calbindin-positive neurons in moderate-to-severe grade HD patients, using antisera against mitochondrial markers of COX2, SOD2 and cytochrome c. Combined calbindin and mitochondrial marker immunofluorescence showed a significant and progressive grade-dependent reduction in the number of mitochondria in spiny striatal neurons, with marked alteration in size. Consistent with mitochondrial loss, there was a reduction in COX2 protein levels using western analysis that corresponded with disease severity. In addition, both mitochondrial transcription factor A, a regulator of mtDNA, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-co-activator gamma-1 alpha, a key transcriptional regulator of energy metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis, were also significantly reduced with increasing disease severity. Abnormalities in mitochondrial dynamics were observed, showing a significant increase in the fission protein Drp1 and a reduction in the expression of the fusion protein mitofusin 1. Lastly, mitochondrial PCR array profiling in HD caudate nucleus specimens showed increased mRNA expression of proteins involved in mitochondrial localization, membrane translocation and polarization and transport that paralleled mitochondrial derangement. These findings reveal that there are both mitochondrial loss and altered mitochondrial morphogenesis with increased mitochondrial fission and reduced fusion in HD. These findings provide further evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of HD.

  2. Brain imaging and cognitive dysfunctions in Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Montoya, Alonso; Price, Bruce H.; Menear, Matthew; Lepage, Martin

    2006-01-01

    Recent decades have seen tremendous growth in our understanding of the cognitive dysfunctions observed in Huntington's disease (HD). Advances in neuroimaging have contributed greatly to this growth. We reviewed the role that structural and functional neuroimaging techniques have played in elucidating the cerebral bases of the cognitive deficits associated with HD. We conducted a computer-based search using PubMed and PsycINFO databases to retrieve studies of patients with HD published between 1965 and December 2004 that reported measures on cognitive tasks and used neuroimaging techniques. Structural neuroimaging has provided important evidence of morphological brain changes in HD. Striatal and cortical atrophy are the most common findings, and they correlate with cognitive deficits in attention, working memory and executive functions. Functional studies have also demonstrated correlations between striatal dysfunction and cognitive performance. Striatal hypoperfusion and decreased glucose utilization correlate with executive dysfunction. Hypometabolism also occurs throughout the cerebral cortex and correlates with performance on recognition memory, language and perceptual tests. Measures of presynaptic and postsynaptic dopamine biochemistry have also correlated with measurements of episodic memory, speed of processing and executive functioning. Aided by the results of numerous neuroimaging studies, it is becoming increasingly clear that cognitive deficits in HD involve abnormal connectivity between the basal ganglia and cortical areas. In the future, neuroimaging techniques may shed the most light on the pathophysiology of HD by defining neurodegenerative disease phenotypes as a valuable tool for knowing when patients become “symptomatic,” having been in a gene-positive presymptomatic state, and as a biomarker in following the disease, thereby providing a prospect for improved patient care. PMID:16496032

  3. Usage of mitochondrial D-loop variation to predict risk for Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Mousavizadeh, Kazem; Rajabi, Peyman; Alaee, Mahsa; Dadgar, Sepideh; Houshmand, Massoud

    2015-08-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited autosomal neurodegenerative disease caused by the abnormal expansion of the CAG repeats in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. It has been proven that mitochondrial dysfunction is contributed to the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. The mitochondrial displacement loop (D-loop) is proven to accumulate mutations at a higher rate than other regions of mtDNA. Thus, we hypothesized that specific SNPs in the D-loop may contribute to the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. In the present study, 30 patients with Huntington's disease and 463 healthy controls were evaluated for mitochondrial mutation sites within the D-loop region using PCR-sequencing method. Sequence analysis revealed 35 variations in HD group from Cambridge Mitochondrial Sequences. A significant difference (p < 0.05) was seen between patients and control group in eight SNPs. Polymorphisms at C16069T, T16126C, T16189C, T16519C and C16223T were correlated with an increased risk of HD while SNPs at C16150T, T16086C and T16195C were associated with a decreased risk of Huntington's disease.

  4. Management of upper extremity dysfunction in people with Parkinson disease and Huntington disease: facilitating outcomes across the disease lifespan.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Lori; Busse, Monica; Dal Bello-Haas, Vanina

    2013-01-01

    Parkinson Disease (PD) and Huntington Disease (HD) are degenerative neurological diseases, which can result in impairments and activity limitations affecting the upper extremities from early in the disease process. The progressive nature of these diseases poses unique challenges for therapists aiming to effectively maximize physical functioning and minimize participation restrictions in these patient groups. Research is underway in both diseases to develop effective disease-modifying agents and pharmacological interventions, as well as mobility-focused rehabilitation protocols. Rehabilitation, and in particular task-specific interventions, has the potential to influence the upper extremity functional abilities of patients with these degenerative conditions. However to date, investigations of interventions specifically addressing upper extremity function have been limited in both PD, and in particular HD. In this paper, we provide an update of the known pathological features of PD and HD as they relate to upper extremity function. We further review the available literature on the use of outcome measures, and the clinical management of upper extremity function in both conditions. Due to the currently limited evidence base in both diseases, we recommend utilization of a clinical management framework specific for degenerative conditions that can serve as a guideline for disease management. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  5. Language deficits in Pre-Symptomatic Huntington's Disease: Evidence from Hungarian

    PubMed Central

    Németh, Dezso; Dye, Cristina D.; Sefcsik, Tamás; Janacsek, Karolina; Turi, Zsolt; Londe, Zsuzsa; Klivenyi, Péter; Kincses, Tamás Zs.; Nikoletta, Szabó; Vecsei, László; Ullman, Michael T.

    2012-01-01

    A limited number of studies have investigated language in Huntington's disease (HD). These have generally reported abnormalities in rule-governed (grammatical) aspects of language, in both syntax and morphology. Several studies of verbal inflectional morphology in English and French have reported evidence of over-active rule processing, such as over-suffixation errors (e.g., walkeded) and over-regularizations (e.g., digged). Here we extend the investigation to noun inflection in Hungarian, a Finno-Ugric agglutinative language with complex morphology, and to genetically proven pre-symptomatic Huntington's disease (pre-HD). Although individuals with pre-HD have no clinical, motor or cognitive symptoms, the underlying pathology may already have begun, and thus sensitive behavioral measures might reveal already-present impairments. Indeed, in a Hungarian morphology production task, pre-HD patients made both over-suffixation and over-regularization errors. The findings suggest the generality of over-active rule processing in both HD and pre-HD, across languages from different families with different morphological systems, and for both verbal and noun inflection. Because the neuropathology in pre-HD appears to be largely restricted to the caudate nucleus and related structures, the findings further implicate these structures in language, and in rule-processing in particular. Finally, the need for effective treatments in HD, which will likely depend in part on the ability to sensitively measure early changes in the disease, suggests the possibility that inflectional morphology, and perhaps other language measures, may provide useful diagnostic, tracking, and therapeutic tools for assessing and treating early degeneration in pre-HD and HD. PMID:22538085

  6. Predictors of Workplace Disability in a Premanifest Huntington's Disease Cohort.

    PubMed

    Goh, Anita M Y; You, Emily; Perin, Stephanie; Clay, Fiona J; Loi, Samantha; Ellis, Kathryn; Chong, Terence; Ames, David; Lautenschlager, Nicola

    2018-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease involving motor, cognitive, and psychiatric/behavioral impairments that will eventually affect work role functioning. Few objective data exist regarding predictors of workplace disability in HD. The authors explored the predictors of work impairment and disability in a cross-sectional cohort of 656 employed, premanifest HD (preHD) individuals. In this cohort-the majority of whom were female, urban-dwelling, married/partnered, and working full-time, with minimal cognitive impairment, good function, minimal motor abnormality, and no indication of significant mental health issues-the number of participants who reported that they had missed work due to HD was low (2.4%). However, 12% of the study sample reported experiencing impairment while working due to preHD, 12.2% reported work-related activity impairment due to preHD, and 12.7% reported impairment in their overall work ability. Higher numbers of CAG repeats on the mutant allele and having more motor symptoms were associated with significantly higher odds of experiencing workplace impairment. Importantly, several modifiable factors were also found to predict workplace disability. Specifically, higher levels of anxiety symptoms were associated with significantly higher odds of experiencing workplace impairment. Good mental and physical health served as protective factors, where good physical health was associated with 6% lower odds of experiencing impairment or missing work time and good mental health was associated with of 10%-12% lower. The results provide important new knowledge for the development of future targeted intervention trials to support preHD individuals in maintaining their work roles as long as possible.

  7. Late-onset Huntington's disease: diagnostic and prognostic considerations.

    PubMed

    Koutsis, Georgios; Karadima, Georgia; Kladi, Athina; Panas, Marios

    2014-07-01

    To address diagnostic and prognostic issues in patients with late-onset Huntington's disease (HD). We analyzed a cohort of 41 late-onset (≥60 years) HD patients and compared them to 39 late-onset patients referred for HD testing that were negative for the HD-expansion and to 290 usual-onset (20-59 years) HD patients. Disease severity was assessed by the Total Functional Capacity Scale. Late-onset HD comprised 11.5% of our HD cohort. In total, 70.7% of late-onset HD patients had positive family history compared to 15.4% of late-onset expansion-negative patients (p < 0.001). Clinical features at onset or presentation could not usefully distinguish between late-onset expansion-positive and negative patients, excepting hemichorea, which was absent from the HD group (p = 0.024). Chorea was the first clinical feature in 53.7% and a presenting feature in 90.2% of late-onset HD. The mutation hit rate for late-onset patients was 51.3%, lower than in usual-onset patients (p = 0.04). Frequencies of chorea, cognitive impairment and psychiatric manifestations at onset or presentation were not significantly different between late-onset and usual-onset HD patients. Gait unsteadiness however was more common at presentation in late-onset HD (p = 0.007). Late-onset HD patients reached a severe stage of illness on average 2.8 years earlier than usual-onset HD patients (p = 0.046). A positive family history suggestive of HD, although absent in a third of patients, remains a helpful clue in diagnosing late-onset HD. Prognosis of late-onset HD in terms of Total Functional Capacity appears no better and shows a trend of being somewhat less favorable compared to usual-onset HD. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. A fully humanized transgenic mouse model of Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Southwell, Amber L.; Warby, Simon C.; Carroll, Jeffrey B.; Doty, Crystal N.; Skotte, Niels H.; Zhang, Weining; Villanueva, Erika B.; Kovalik, Vlad; Xie, Yuanyun; Pouladi, Mahmoud A.; Collins, Jennifer A.; Yang, X. William; Franciosi, Sonia; Hayden, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Silencing the mutant huntingtin gene (muHTT) is a direct and simple therapeutic strategy for the treatment of Huntington disease (HD) in principle. However, targeting the HD mutation presents challenges because it is an expansion of a common genetic element (a CAG tract) that is found throughout the genome. Moreover, the HTT protein is important for neuronal health throughout life, and silencing strategies that also reduce the wild-type HTT allele may not be well tolerated during the long-term treatment of HD. Several HTT silencing strategies are in development that target genetic sites in HTT that are outside of the CAG expansion, including HD mutation-linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms and the HTT promoter. Preclinical testing of these genetic therapies has required the development of a new mouse model of HD that carries these human-specific genetic targets. To generate a fully humanized mouse model of HD, we have cross-bred BACHD and YAC18 on the Hdh−/− background. The resulting line, Hu97/18, is the first murine model of HD that fully genetically recapitulates human HD having two human HTT genes, no mouse Hdh genes and heterozygosity of the HD mutation. We find that Hu97/18 mice display many of the behavioral changes associated with HD including motor, psychiatric and cognitive deficits, as well as canonical neuropathological abnormalities. This mouse line will be useful for gaining additional insights into the disease mechanisms of HD as well as for testing genetic therapies targeting human HTT. PMID:23001568

  9. Longitudinal Psychiatric Symptoms in Prodromal Huntington's Disease: A Decade of Data.

    PubMed

    Epping, Eric A; Kim, Ji-In; Craufurd, David; Brashers-Krug, Thomas M; Anderson, Karen E; McCusker, Elizabeth; Luther, Jolene; Long, Jeffrey D; Paulsen, Jane S

    2016-02-01

    Psychiatric symptoms are a significant aspect of Huntington's disease, an inherited neurodegenerative illness. The presentation of these symptoms is highly variable, and their course does not fully correlate with motor or cognitive disease progression. The authors sought to better understand the development and longitudinal course of psychiatric manifestations in individuals who carry the Huntington's disease mutation, starting from the prodromal period prior to motor diagnosis. Longitudinal measures for up to 10 years of psychiatric symptoms from the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised were obtained from 1,305 participants (1,007 carrying the Huntington's disease mutation and 298 without [classified as controls]) and 1,235 companions enrolled in the Neurobiological Predictors of Huntington's Disease (PREDICT-HD) study. Participants with the mutation were stratified into three groups according to probability of motor diagnosis within 5 years. Using linear mixed-effects regression models, differences in psychiatric symptoms at baseline and over time between the mutation-positive groups and the controls were compared, as well as between ratings by mutation-positive participants and their companions. Nineteen of 24 psychiatric measures (12 participant ratings and 12 companion ratings) were significantly higher at baseline and showed significant increases longitudinally in the individuals with the Huntington's disease mutation compared with controls. The differences were greatest in comparisons of symptom reports from companions compared with self-reports, especially in participants who were closest to motor diagnosis. The results indicate that psychiatric manifestations develop more often than previously thought in the Huntington's disease prodrome. Symptoms also increase with progression of disease severity. Greater symptom ratings by companions than by mutation-positive participants suggest decreasing awareness in those affected.

  10. Mental Symptoms in Huntington's Disease and a Possible Primary Aminergic Neuron Lesion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mann, J. John; Stanley, Michael; Gershon, Samuel; Rossor, M.

    1980-12-01

    Monoamine oxidase activity was higher in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia of patients dying from Huntington's disease than in controls. Enzyme kinetics and multiple substrate studies indicated that the increased activity was due to elevated concentrations of monoamine oxidase type B. Concentrations of homovanillic acid were increased in the cerebral cortex but not in the basal ganglia of brains of patients with Huntington's disease. These changes may represent a primary aminergic lesion that could underlie some of the mental symptoms of this disease.

  11. Two models for a maternal factor in the inheritance of Huntington disease.

    PubMed Central

    Boehnke, M; Conneally, P M; Lange, K

    1983-01-01

    Huntington disease is a classic example of an autosomal dominant trait. Over the years, however, a number of investigators have reported anomalies regarding the age of onset of the disease that are inconsistent with this paradigm. We propose two models in which a maternal factor--cytoplasmic in one case, autosomal or X-linked in the other--acts to delay onset in a manner consistent with the previously reported anomalies. Relevant data from the Huntington's Disease Research Roster are presented that reinforce and extend the previous observations. PMID:6225335

  12. What do we know about Late Onset Huntington's Disease?

    PubMed

    Chaganti, Sai S; McCusker, Elizabeth A; Loy, Clement T

    2017-01-01

    Although the typical age of onset for Huntington's disease (HD) is in the fourth decade, between 4.4-11.5% of individuals with HD have a late onset (over 60 years of age). Diagnosis of Late onset HD (LoHD) can be missed, due to the perceived low likelihood of HD in the over 60-year-olds. To review the epidemiology, genotype and phenotype of LoHD. We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science (inception-November 2016). Web of Science was then used to search for papers citing identified studies. Content experts were consulted for any additional studies. We included all studies reporting the clinical phenotype of LoHD for more than one participant. 20 studies were identified from a potential list of 1243. Among Caucasian HD cohorts, 4.4-11.5% of individuals have LoHD, and this proportion may be increasing. Proportion of LoHD without a positive family history ranges from 3-68%. 94.4% of reported cases of LoHD had CAG repeat lengths of ≤44. Motor manifestations are the commonest initial presentation, although 29.2% presented with non-motor manifestations as the first clinical feature in one case series. Individuals with LoHD may have slower progression of illness. Cognitive impairment rather than chorea may be the major source of disability in this group. LoHD represents a substantial proportion of new diagnoses of HD and has some unique features. Further characterization of this population will aid clinicians in diagnosis.

  13. Cannabinoids: novel medicines for the treatment of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Sagredo, Onintza; Pazos, M Ruth; Valdeolivas, Sara; Fernandez-Ruiz, Javier

    2012-04-01

    Cannabinoid pharmacology has experienced a notable increase in the last 3 decades which is allowing the development of novel cannabinoid-based medicines for the treatment of different human pathologies, for example, Cesamet® (nabilone) or Marinol® (synthetic Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol for oral administration) that were approved in 80s for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients and in 90s for anorexiacachexia associated with AIDS therapy. Recently, the british company GW Pharmaceuticals plc has developed an oromucosal spray called Sativex®, which is constituted by an equimolecular combination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol- and cannabidiol- enriched botanical extracts. Sativex® has been approved for the treatment of specific symptoms (i.e. spasticity and pain) of multiple sclerosis patients in various countries (i.e. Canada, UK, Spain, New Zealand). However, this cannabis- based medicine has been also proposed to be useful in other neurological disorders given the analgesic, antitumoral, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties of their components demonstrated in preclinical models. Numerous clinical trials are presently being conducted to confirm this potential in patients. We are particularly interested in the case of Huntington's disease (HD), an autosomal-dominant inherited disorder caused by an excess of CAG repeats in the genomic allele resulting in a polyQ expansion in the encoded protein called huntingtin, and that affects primarily striatal and cortical neurons thus producing motor abnormalities (i.e. chorea) and dementia. Cannabinoids have been studied for alleviation of hyperkinetic symptoms, given their inhibitory effects on movement, and, in particular, as disease-modifying agents due to their anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties. This potential has been corroborated in different experimental models of HD and using different types of cannabinoid agonists

  14. Widespread heterogeneous neuronal loss across the cerebral cortex in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Nana, Alissa L; Kim, Eric H; Thu, Doris C V; Oorschot, Dorothy E; Tippett, Lynette J; Hogg, Virginia M; Synek, Beth J; Roxburgh, Richard; Waldvogel, Henry J; Faull, Richard L M

    2014-01-01

    Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by neuronal degeneration in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex, and a variable symptom profile. Although progressive striatal degeneration is known to occur and is related to symptom profile, little is known about the cellular basis of symptom heterogeneity across the entire cerebral cortex. To investigate this, we have undertaken a double blind study using unbiased stereological cell counting techniques to determine the pattern of cell loss in six representative cortical regions from the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes in the brains of 14 Huntington's disease cases and 15 controls. The results clearly demonstrate a widespread loss of total neurons and pyramidal cells across all cortical regions studied, except for the primary visual cortex. Importantly, the results show that cell loss is remarkably variable both within and between Huntington's disease cases. The results also show that neuronal loss in the primary sensory and secondary visual cortices relate to Huntington's disease motor symptom profiles, and neuronal loss across the associational cortices in the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes is related to both Huntington's disease motor and to mood symptom profiles. This finding considerably extends a previous study (Thu et al., Brain, 2010; 133:1094-1110) which showed that neuronal loss in the primary motor cortex was related specifically to the motor symptom profiles while neuronal loss in the anterior cingulate cortex was related specifically to mood symptom profiles. The extent of cortical cell loss in the current study was generally related to the striatal neuropathological grade, but not to CAG repeat length on the HTT gene. Overall our findings show that Huntington's disease is characterized by a heterogeneous pattern of neuronal cell loss across the entire cerebrum which varies with symptom profile.

  15. Reagents that block neuronal death from Huntington's disease also curb oxidative stress.

    PubMed

    Valencia, Antonio; Sapp, Ellen; Reeves, Patrick B; Alexander, Jonathan; Masso, Nicholas; Li, Xueyi; Kegel, Kimberly B; DiFiglia, Marian

    2012-01-04

    Patients with Huntington's disease suffer severe neuronal loss and signs of oxidative damage in the brain. Previously we found that primary neurons from embryonic cortex of mice bearing the Huntington's disease mutation (140 glutamines inserted into exon 1 of huntingtin) showed higher levels of reactive oxygen species before cell death. Here, we treated mutant neurons with known neuroprotective agents and determined the effects on neuronal survival and levels of reactive oxygen species. Primary neurons were exposed to the neurotrophin, brain derived neurotrophic factor, the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine or a specific inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3-β, SB216763. Each reagent increased the survival of the mutant neurons compared with untreated mutant neurons and also reduced the levels of reactive oxygen species to levels of wild-type neurons. These results suggest that reducing the levels of reactive oxygen species may be necessary to protect neurons with the Huntington's disease mutation from cell death.

  16. Music therapy in Huntington's disease: a protocol for a multi-center randomized controlled trial.

    PubMed

    van Bruggen-Rufi, Monique; Vink, Annemieke; Achterberg, Wilco; Roos, Raymund

    2016-07-26

    Huntington's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease with autosomal dominant inheritance, characterized by motor disturbances, cognitive decline and behavioral and psychological symptoms. Since there is no cure, all treatment is aimed at improving quality of life. Music therapy is a non-pharmacological intervention, aiming to improve the quality of life, but its use and efficacy in patients with Huntington's disease has hardly been studied. In this article, a protocol is described to study the effects of music therapy in comparison with a control intervention to improve quality of life through stimulating expressive and communicative skills. By targeting these skills we assume that the social-cognitive functioning will improve, leading to a reduction in behavioral problems, resulting in an overall improvement of the quality of life in patients with Huntington's disease. The study is designed as a multi-center single-blind randomised controlled intervention trial. Sixty patients will be randomised using centre-stratified block-permuted randomisation. Patients will be recruited from four long-term care facilities specialized in Huntington's disease-care in The Netherlands. The outcome measure to assess changes in expressive and communication skills is the Behaviour Observation Scale Huntington and changes in behavior will be assessed by the Problem Behaviour Assesment-short version and by the BOSH. Measurements take place at baseline, then 8, 16 (end of intervention) and 12 weeks after the last intervention (follow-up). This randomized controlled study will provide greater insight into the effectiveness of music therapy on activities of daily living, social-cognitive functioning and behavior problems by improving expressive and communication skills, thus leading to a better quality of life for patients with Huntington's disease. Netherlands Trial Register: NTR4904 , registration date Nov. 15, 2014.

  17. Progressive Impairment of Lactate-based Gluconeogenesis in the Huntington's Disease Mouse Model R6/2.

    PubMed

    Nielsen, Signe Marie Borch; Hasholt, Lis; Nørremølle, Anne; Josefsen, Knud

    2015-04-20

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative illness, where selective neuronal loss in the brain caused by expression of mutant huntingtin protein leads to motor dysfunction and cognitive decline in addition to peripheral metabolic changes. In this study we confirm our previous observation of impairment of lactate-based hepatic gluconeogenesis in the transgenic HD mouse model R6/2 and determine that the defect manifests very early and progresses in severity with disease development, indicating a potential to explore this defect in a biomarker context. Moreover, R6/2 animals displayed lower blood glucose levels during prolonged fasting compared to wild type animals.

  18. Prediction of manifest Huntington's disease with clinical and imaging measures: a prospective observational study.

    PubMed

    Paulsen, Jane S; Long, Jeffrey D; Ross, Christopher A; Harrington, Deborah L; Erwin, Cheryl J; Williams, Janet K; Westervelt, Holly James; Johnson, Hans J; Aylward, Elizabeth H; Zhang, Ying; Bockholt, H Jeremy; Barker, Roger A

    2014-12-01

    Although the association between cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat length and age at onset of Huntington's disease is well known, improved prediction of onset would be advantageous for clinical trial design and prognostic counselling. We compared various measures for tracking progression and predicting conversion to manifest Huntington's disease. In this prospective observational study, we assessed the ability of 40 measures in five domains (motor, cognitive, psychiatric, functional, and imaging) to predict time to motor diagnosis of Huntington's disease, accounting for CAG repeat length, age, and the interaction of CAG repeat length and age. Eligible participants were individuals from the PREDICT-HD study (from 33 centres in six countries [USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, Spain, UK]) with the gene mutation for Huntington's disease but without a motor diagnosis (a rating below 4 on the diagnostic confidence level from the 15-item motor assessment of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale). Participants were followed up between September, 2002, and July, 2014. We used joint modelling of longitudinal and survival data to examine the extent to which baseline and change of measures analysed separately was predictive of CAG-adjusted age at motor diagnosis. 1078 individuals with a CAG expansion were included in this analysis. Participants were followed up for a mean of 5·1 years (SD 3·3, range 0·0-12·0). 225 (21%) of these participants received a motor diagnosis of Huntington's disease during the study. 37 of 40 cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical and imaging measures were significant predictors of motor diagnosis beyond CAG repeat length and age. The strongest predictors were in the motor, imaging, and cognitive domains: an increase of one SD in total motor score (motor domain) increased the risk of a motor diagnosis by 3·07 times (95% CI 2·26-4·16), a reduction of one SD in putamen volume (imaging domain) increased risk by 3·32 times (2·37-4

  19. Characterisation of aggression in Huntington's disease: rates, types and antecedents in an inpatient rehabilitation setting.

    PubMed

    Brown, Anahita; Sewell, Katherine; Fisher, Caroline A

    2017-10-01

    To systematically review aggression in an inpatient Huntington's cohort examining rates, types and antecedents. Although the prevalence of aggression in Huntington's disease is high, research into this problematic behaviour has been limited. Few studies have investigated the nature of aggressive behaviour in Huntington's disease or antecedents that contribute to its occurrence. A systematic, double-coded, electronic medical file audit. The electronic hospital medical records of 10 people with Huntington's disease admitted to a brain disorders unit were audited for a 90-day period using the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified for Neurorehabilitation framework, yielding 900 days of clinical data. Nine of 10 clients exhibited aggression during the audit period. Both verbal (37·1%) aggression and physical aggression were common (33·8%), along with episodes of mixed verbal and physical aggression (15·2%), while aggression to objects/furniture was less prevalent (5·5%). The most common antecedent was physical guidance with personal care, far exceeding any other documented antecedents, and acting as the most common trigger for four of the nine clients who exhibited aggression. For the remaining five clients, there was intraindividual heterogeneity in susceptibility to specific antecedents. In Huntington's sufferers at mid- to late stages following disease onset, particular care should be made with personal care assistance due to the propensity for these procedures to elicit an episode of aggression. However, given the degree of intraindividual heterogeneity in susceptibility to specific antecedents observed in the present study, individualised behaviour support plans and sensory modulation interventions may be the most useful in identifying triggers and managing aggressive episodes. Rates of aggression in Huntington's disease inpatients can be high. Knowledge of potential triggers, such as personal care, is important for nursing and care staff, so that attempts can be

  20. Neuroendocrine and neurotrophic signaling in Huntington's disease: Implications for pathogenic mechanisms and treatment strategies.

    PubMed

    Bartlett, Danielle M; Cruickshank, Travis M; Hannan, Anthony J; Eastwood, Peter R; Lazar, Alpar S; Ziman, Mel R

    2016-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by an extended polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein. Circadian, sleep and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis disturbances are observed in HD as early as 15 years before clinical disease onset. Disturbances in these key processes result in increased cortisol and altered melatonin release which may negatively impact on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and contribute to documented neuropathological and clinical disease features. This review describes the normal interactions between neurotrophic factors, the HPA-axis and circadian rhythm, as indicated by levels of BDNF, cortisol and melatonin, and the alterations in these intricately balanced networks in HD. We also discuss the implications of these alterations on the neurobiology of HD and the potential to result in hypothalamic, circadian, and sleep pathologies. Measurable alterations in these pathways provide targets that, if treated early, may reduce degeneration of brain structures. We therefore focus here on the means by which multidisciplinary therapy could be utilised as a non-pharmaceutical approach to restore the balance of these pathways. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  1. Safety and tolerability of the free-radical scavenger OPC-14117 in Huntington's disease. The Huntington Study Group.

    PubMed

    1998-05-01

    Oxidative damage due to free-radical generation in the setting of underlying defects of neuronal energy metabolism has been implicated as a pathogenetic mechanism for Huntington's disease (HD). The authors conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of the tolerability of OPC-14117, a lipophilic free-radical scavenger that concentrates in the brain. Ambulatory patients with HD received OPC-14117 60 mg/d, 120 mg/d, 240 mg/d, or placebo and were assessed by the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) for 20 weeks, including 12 or 16 weeks of assigned treatment and 8 or 4 weeks of blinded withdrawal of the study drug. Tolerability was measured by the proportion of patients completing the initial 12-week course of treatment on their originally assigned regimen. Sixty-four patients were enrolled in the study, 56 of whom completed the 12 weeks of treatment. Treatment was discontinued in four patients (1 placebo, 1 60 mg/d, 2 240 mg/d) due to asymptomatic but persistent serum elevations of liver transaminase. Two patients (1 60 mg/d and 1 120 mg/d) withdrew because of increased involuntary movements, one patient (60 mg/d) withdrew due to persistent dry eyes, and one patient (120 mg/d) withdrew because of persistent vomiting. There were no significant differences between treatment arms in the primary measures of tolerability, the frequency and types of clinical adverse events, or the clinical/functional features of HD. OPC-14117 was safe and generally well tolerated; however, elevations of liver transaminase suggested that continued surveillance monitoring is warranted in conducting more long-term studies of this antioxidant therapy.

  2. JUNCTOPHILIN 3 (JPH3) EXPANSION MUTATIONS CAUSING HUNTINGTON DISEASE LIKE 2 (HDL2) ARE COMMON IN SOUTH AFRICAN PATIENTS WITH AFRICAN ANCESTRY AND A HUNTINGTON DISEASE PHENOTYPE

    PubMed Central

    Krause, A; Mitchell, CL; Essop, F; Tager, S; Temlett, J; Stevanin, G; Ross, CA; Rudnicki, DD; Margolis, RL

    2015-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by abnormal movements, cognitive decline and psychiatric symptoms, caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene on chromosome 4p. A CAG/CTG repeat expansion in the junctophilin-3 (JPH3) gene on chromosome 16q24.2 causes a Huntington disease-like phenotype (HDL2). All patients to date with HDL2 have some African ancestry. The present study aimed to characterize the genetic basis of the Huntington disease phenotype in South Africans and to investigate the possible origin of the JPH3 mutation. In a sample of unrelated South African individuals referred for diagnostic HD testing, 62% (106/171) of white patients compared to only 36% (47/130) of black patients had an expansion in HTT. However, 15% (20/130) of black South African patients and no white patients (0/171) had an expansion in JPH3, confirming the diagnosis of Huntington disease like 2 (HDL2). Individuals with HDL2 share many clinical features with individuals with HD and are clinically indistinguishable in many cases, although the average age of onset and diagnosis in HDL2 is 5 years later than HD and individual clinical features may be more prominent. HDL2 mutations contribute significantly to the HD phenotype in South Africans with African ancestry. JPH3 haplotype studies in 31 families, mainly from South Africa and North America, provide evidence for a founder mutation and support a common African origin for all HDL2 patients. Molecular testing in individuals with an HD phenotype and African ancestry should include testing routinely for JPH3 mutations. PMID:26079385

  3. Dantrolene is neuroprotective in Huntington's disease transgenic mouse model.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xi; Wu, Jun; Lvovskaya, Svetlana; Herndon, Emily; Supnet, Charlene; Bezprozvanny, Ilya

    2011-11-25

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the Huntingtin protein which results in the selective degeneration of striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). Our group has previously demonstrated that calcium (Ca2+) signaling is abnormal in MSNs from the yeast artificial chromosome transgenic mouse model of HD (YAC128). Moreover, we demonstrated that deranged intracellular Ca2+ signaling sensitizes YAC128 MSNs to glutamate-induced excitotoxicity when compared to wild type (WT) MSNs. In previous studies we also observed abnormal neuronal Ca2+ signaling in neurons from spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2) and spinocerebellar ataxia 3 (SCA3) mouse models and demonstrated that treatment with dantrolene, a ryanodine receptor antagonist and clinically relevant Ca2+ signaling stabilizer, was neuroprotective in experiments with these mouse models. The aim of the current study was to evaluate potential beneficial effects of dantrolene in experiments with YAC128 HD mouse model. The application of caffeine and glutamate resulted in increased Ca2+ release from intracellular stores in YAC128 MSN cultures when compared to WT MSN cultures. Pre-treatment with dantrolene protected YAC128 MSNs from glutamate excitotoxicty, with an effective concentration of 100 nM and above. Feeding dantrolene (5 mg/kg) twice a week to YAC128 mice between 2 months and 11.5 months of age resulted in significantly improved performance in the beam-walking and gait-walking assays. Neuropathological analysis revealed that long-term dantrolene feeding to YAC128 mice significantly reduced the loss of NeuN-positive striatal neurons and reduced formation of Httexp nuclear aggregates. Our results support the hypothesis that deranged Ca2+ signaling plays an important role in HD pathology. Our data also implicate the RyanRs as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HD and demonstrate that RyanR inhibitors and Ca2+ signaling stabilizers such as

  4. Dantrolene is neuroprotective in Huntington's disease transgenic mouse model

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the Huntingtin protein which results in the selective degeneration of striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). Our group has previously demonstrated that calcium (Ca2+) signaling is abnormal in MSNs from the yeast artificial chromosome transgenic mouse model of HD (YAC128). Moreover, we demonstrated that deranged intracellular Ca2+ signaling sensitizes YAC128 MSNs to glutamate-induced excitotoxicity when compared to wild type (WT) MSNs. In previous studies we also observed abnormal neuronal Ca2+ signaling in neurons from spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2) and spinocerebellar ataxia 3 (SCA3) mouse models and demonstrated that treatment with dantrolene, a ryanodine receptor antagonist and clinically relevant Ca2+ signaling stabilizer, was neuroprotective in experiments with these mouse models. The aim of the current study was to evaluate potential beneficial effects of dantrolene in experiments with YAC128 HD mouse model. Results The application of caffeine and glutamate resulted in increased Ca2+ release from intracellular stores in YAC128 MSN cultures when compared to WT MSN cultures. Pre-treatment with dantrolene protected YAC128 MSNs from glutamate excitotoxicty, with an effective concentration of 100 nM and above. Feeding dantrolene (5 mg/kg) twice a week to YAC128 mice between 2 months and 11.5 months of age resulted in significantly improved performance in the beam-walking and gait-walking assays. Neuropathological analysis revealed that long-term dantrolene feeding to YAC128 mice significantly reduced the loss of NeuN-positive striatal neurons and reduced formation of Httexp nuclear aggregates. Conclusions Our results support the hypothesis that deranged Ca2+ signaling plays an important role in HD pathology. Our data also implicate the RyanRs as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HD and demonstrate that RyanR inhibitors and Ca2

  5. Ethical and social issues in presymptomatic testing for Huntington's disease: a European Community collaborative study. European Community Huntington's Disease Collaborative Study Group.

    PubMed Central

    1993-01-01

    An analysis of social and ethical aspects of presymptomatic testing for Huntington's disease has been carried out, based on data on linked DNA markers, from four major testing centres in different European Community countries (Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, and United Kingdom). Information was available on 603 applicants, with 213 final results given, of which 32% gave an increased risk. A series of specific issues and problems were documented systematically for all applicants, results being given on frequency of occurrence and illustrated by individual case histories. The principal issues could be grouped as problems of inappropriate referral, problems involving relatives, and problems relating to disclosure of results. At least one important problem was encountered in 46% of applicants, emphasising the importance of expert counselling, preparation, and support of applicants, and of close liaison between clinical, counselling, and laboratory staff. The extensive and detailed information available for Huntington's disease from this and other studies will be of considerable value in relation to genetic testing for other late onset genetic disorders and will be even more relevant to Huntington's disease now that specific mutation analysis is possible for this disorder. PMID:8133502

  6. A comprehensive glycome profiling of Huntington's disease transgenic mice.

    PubMed

    Gizaw, Solomon T; Koda, Toshiaki; Amano, Maho; Kamimura, Keiko; Ohashi, Tetsu; Hinou, Hiroshi; Nishimura, Shin-Ichiro

    2015-09-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal, dominantly inherited and progressive neurodegenerative disease, nosologically classified as the presence of intranuclear inclusion bodies and the loss of GABA-containing neurons in the neostriatum and subsequently in the cerebellar cortex. Abnormal processing of neuronal proteins can result in the misfolding of proteins and altered post-translational modification of newly synthesized proteins. Total glycomics, namely, N-glycomics, O-glycomics, and glycosphingolipidomics (GSL-omics) of HD transgenic mice would be a hallmark for central nervous system disorders in order to discover disease specific biomarkers. Glycoblotting method, a high throughput glycomic protocol, and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight/mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/MS) were used to study the total glycome expression levels in the brain tissue (3 mice of each sex) and sera (5 mice of each sex) of HD transgenic and control mice. All experiments were performed twice and differences in the expression levels of major glycoforms were compared between HD transgenic and control mice. We estimated the structure and expression levels of 87 and 58N-glycans in brain tissue and sera, respectively, of HD transgenic and control mice. The present results clearly indicated that the brain glycome and their expression levels are significantly gender specific when compared with those of other tissues and serum. Core-fucosylated and bisecting-GlcNAc types of N-glycans were found in increased levels in the brain tissue HD transgenic mice. Accordingly, core-fucosylated and sialic acid (particularly N-glycolylneuraminic acid, NeuGc) for biantennary type glycans were found in increased amounts in the sera of HD transgenic mice compared to that of control mice. Core 3 type O-glycans were found in increased levels in male and in decreased levels in both the striatum and cortexes of female HD transgenic mice. Furthermore, serum levels of core 1 type O

  7. Suppressing aberrant GluN3A expression rescues NMDA receptor dysfunction, synapse loss and motor and cognitive decline in Huntington's disease models

    PubMed Central

    Marco, Sonia; Giralt, Albert; Petrovic, Milos M.; Pouladi, Mahmoud A.; Martínez-Turrillas, Rebeca; Martínez-Hernández, José; Kaltenbach, Linda S.; Torres-Peraza, Jesús; Graham, Rona K.; Watanabe, Masahiko; Luján, Rafael; Nakanishi, Nobuki; Lipton, Stuart A.; Lo, Donald C.; Hayden, Michael R.; Alberch, Jordi; Wesseling, John F.

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease is caused by an expanded polyglutamine repeat in huntingtin (Htt), but the pathophysiological sequence of events that trigger synaptic failure and neuronal loss are not fully understood. Alterations in NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) have been implicated, yet it remains unclear how the Htt mutation impacts NMDAR function and direct evidence for a causative role is missing. Here we show that mutant Htt re-directs an intracellular store of juvenile NMDARs to the surface of striatal neurons by sequestering and disrupting the subcellular localization of the GluN3A subunit-specific endocytic adaptor PACSIN1. Overexpressing GluN3A in wild-type striatum mimicked the synapse loss observed in Huntington's disease mouse models, whereas genetic deletion of GluN3A prevented synapse degeneration, ameliorated motor and cognitive decline, and reduced striatal atrophy and neuronal loss in the YAC128 model. Furthermore, GluN3A deletion corrected the abnormally enhanced NMDAR currents, which have been linked to cell death in Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. Our findings reveal an early pathogenic role of GluN3A dysregulation in Huntington's disease, and suggest that therapies targeting GluN3A or pathogenic Htt-PACSIN1 interactions might prevent or delay disease progression. PMID:23852340

  8. An image-based model of brain volume biomarker changes in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Wijeratne, Peter A; Young, Alexandra L; Oxtoby, Neil P; Marinescu, Razvan V; Firth, Nicholas C; Johnson, Eileanoir B; Mohan, Amrita; Sampaio, Cristina; Scahill, Rachael I; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Alexander, Daniel C

    2018-05-01

    Determining the sequence in which Huntington's disease biomarkers become abnormal can provide important insights into the disease progression and a quantitative tool for patient stratification. Here, we construct and present a uniquely fine-grained model of temporal progression of Huntington's disease from premanifest through to manifest stages. We employ a probabilistic event-based model to determine the sequence of appearance of atrophy in brain volumes, learned from structural MRI in the Track-HD study, as well as to estimate the uncertainty in the ordering. We use longitudinal and phenotypic data to demonstrate the utility of the patient staging system that the resulting model provides. The model recovers the following order of detectable changes in brain region volumes: putamen, caudate, pallidum, insula white matter, nonventricular cerebrospinal fluid, amygdala, optic chiasm, third ventricle, posterior insula, and basal forebrain. This ordering is mostly preserved even under cross-validation of the uncertainty in the event sequence. Longitudinal analysis performed using 6 years of follow-up data from baseline confirms efficacy of the model, as subjects consistently move to later stages with time, and significant correlations are observed between the estimated stages and nonimaging phenotypic markers. We used a data-driven method to provide new insight into Huntington's disease progression as well as new power to stage and predict conversion. Our results highlight the potential of disease progression models, such as the event-based model, to provide new insight into Huntington's disease progression and to support fine-grained patient stratification for future precision medicine in Huntington's disease.

  9. An outline for the analysis of dementia. The memory disorder of Huntingtons disease.

    PubMed

    Caine, E D; Ebert, M H; Weingartner, H

    1977-11-01

    Methods have been developed for assessing the cognitive parameters contributing to a memory disorder. Our findings suggest that individuals with Huntington disease have impairments in the encoding of new information and the consistent retrieval from storage of learned material. Their difficulties lie particularly in the realm of episodic memory.

  10. Using Talking Mats to Support Communication in Persons with Huntington's Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ferm, Ulrika; Sahlin, Anna; Sundin, Linda; Hartelius, Lena

    2010-01-01

    Background: Many individuals with Huntington's disease experience reduced functioning in cognition, language and communication. Talking Mats is a visually based low technological augmentative communication framework that supports communication in people with different cognitive and communicative disabilities. Aims: To evaluate Talking Mats as a…

  11. Huntington's Disease Research Roster Support with a Microcomputer Database Management System

    PubMed Central

    Gersting, J. M.; Conneally, P. M.; Beidelman, K.

    1983-01-01

    This paper chronicles the MEGADATS (Medical Genetics Acquisition and DAta Transfer System) database development effort in collecting, storing, retrieving, and plotting human family pedigrees. The newest system, MEGADATS-3M, is detailed. Emphasis is on the microcomputer version of MEGADATS-3M and its use to support the Huntington's Disease research roster project. Examples of data input and pedigree plotting are included.

  12. The use of stem cells in regenerative medicine for Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases.

    PubMed

    Lescaudron, L; Naveilhan, P; Neveu, I

    2012-01-01

    Cell transplantation has been proposed as a means of replacing specific cell populations lost through neurodegenerative processes such as that seen in Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. Improvement of the clinical symptoms has been observed in a number of Parkinson and Huntington's patients transplanted with freshly isolated fetal brain tissue but such restorative approach is greatly hampered by logistic and ethical concerns relative to the use of fetal tissue, in addition to potential side effects that remain to be controlled. In this context, stem cells that are capable of self-renewal and can differentiate into neurons, have received a great deal of interest, as demonstrated by the numerous studies based on the transplantation of neural stem/progenitor cells, embryonic stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells into animal models of Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. More recently, the induction of pluripotent stem cells from somatic adult cells has raised a new hope for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In the present article, we review the main experimental approaches to assess the efficiency of cell-based therapy for Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases, and discuss the recent advances in using stem cells to replace lost dopaminergic mesencephalic or striatal neurons. Characteristics of the different stem cells are extensively examined with a special attention to their ability of producing neurotrophic or immunosuppressive factors, as these may provide a favourable environment for brain tissue repair and long-term survival of transplanted cells in the central nervous system. Thus, stem cell therapy can be a valuable tool in regenerative medicine.

  13. Not on the Face Alone: Perception of Contextualized Face Expressions in Huntington's Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Aviezer, Hillel; Bentin, Shlomo; Hassin, Ran R.; Meschino, Wendy S.; Kennedy, Jeanne; Grewal, Sonya; Esmail, Sherali; Cohen, Sharon; Moscovitch, Morris

    2009-01-01

    Numerous studies have demonstrated that Huntington's disease mutation-carriers have deficient explicit recognition of isolated facial expressions. There are no studies, however, which have investigated the recognition of facial expressions embedded within an emotional body and scene context. Real life facial expressions are typically embedded in…

  14. Functional Compensation of Motor Function in Pre-Symptomatic Huntington's Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kloppel, Stefan; Draganski, Bogdan; Siebner, Hartwig R.; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Weiller, Cornelius; Frackowiak, Richard S. J.

    2009-01-01

    Involuntary choreiform movements are a clinical hallmark of Huntington's disease. Studies in clinically affected patients suggest a shift of motor activations to parietal cortices in response to progressive neurodegeneration. Here, we studied pre-symptomatic gene carriers to examine the compensatory mechanisms that underlie the phenomenon of…

  15. Psychological Aspects of Genetic Counselling: A Review of the Experience with Huntington's Disease.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    ten Kroode, Herman F. J.; van't Spijker, Adriaan

    1997-01-01

    Psychological consequences of presymptomatic DNA-testing for Huntington's disease are reviewed. Both carriers and noncarriers experience emotional reactions after disclosure of their test results; however, no long-term adverse emotional consequences have been revealed. Consequences for the family are discussed. Future research should include…

  16. Language Deficits in Pre-Symptomatic Huntington's Disease: Evidence from Hungarian

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nemeth, Dezso; Dye, Cristina D.; Sefcsik, Tamas; Janacsek, Karolina; Turi, Zsolt; Londe, Zsuzsa; Klivenyi, Peter; Kincses, Zsigmond Tamas; Szabo, Nikoletta; Vecsei, Laszlo; Ullman, Michael T.

    2012-01-01

    A limited number of studies have investigated language in Huntington's disease (HD). These have generally reported abnormalities in rule-governed (grammatical) aspects of language, in both syntax and morphology. Several studies of verbal inflectional morphology in English and French have reported evidence of over-active rule processing, such as…

  17. COMPLEXITY AND HETEROGENEITY: WHAT DRIVES THE EVER-CHANGING BRAIN IN HUNTINGTONS DISEASE?

    PubMed Central

    Rosas, H. Diana; Salat, David H; Lee, Stephanie Y; Zaleta, Alexandra K; Hevelone, Nathanael; Hersch, Steven M.

    2008-01-01

    Significant advances are being made in our understanding of basic pathophyiological and biochemical mechanisms that cause HuntingtonÕs disease (HD). There is increasing reason to believe that pathologic alterations occur in the brain for years before symptoms manifest. The “classic” hallmark of neuropathology in HD is selective neurodegeneration in which vulnerable populations of neurons degenerate while less vulnerable populations are spared. While, the earliest and most striking neuropathologic changes have been found in the neostriatum, neuronal loss has been identified in many other regions of the brain. We report topologically selective, early, and progressive changes in the cortex, striatum, extra-striatal brain structures and white matter throughout the spectrum of disease. Our growing understanding of HD underscores the reality that points to the complexity of HD. A single, well-defined genetic mutation causes a cascade of events whose final result is an aggregate insult of the homeostatic process. We explore possible explanations for the selective vulnerability of the brain in HD. The ultimate goal in HD is to develop disease-modifying therapies that will prevent the onset of clinical symptoms in those individuals who are at risk and slow the progression of symptoms in those individuals already affected with symptoms. Understanding changes in brain morphometry and their relationship to clinical symptoms may provide important new and important insights into basic pathophysiological mechanisms at play in the disease. PMID:19076442

  18. Action-semantic and syntactic deficits in subjects at risk for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    García, Adolfo M; Bocanegra, Yamile; Herrera, Eduar; Pino, Mariana; Muñoz, Edinson; Sedeño, Lucas; Ibáñez, Agustín

    2017-03-11

    Frontostriatal networks play critical roles in grounding action semantics and syntactic skills. Indeed, their atrophy distinctively disrupts both domains, as observed in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) and Parkinson's disease, even during early disease stages. However, frontostriatal degeneration in these conditions may begin up to 15 years before the onset of clinical symptoms, opening avenues for pre-clinical detection via sensitive tasks. Such a mission is particularly critical in HD, given that patients' children have 50% chances of inheriting the disease. Against this background, we assessed whether deficits in the above-mentioned domains emerge in subjects at risk to develop HD. We administered tasks tapping action semantics, object semantics, and two forms of syntactic processing to 18 patients with HD, 19 asymptomatic first-degree relatives, and sociodemographically matched controls for each group. The patients evinced significant deficits in all tasks, but only those in the two target domains were independent of overall cognitive state. More crucially, relative to controls, the asymptomatic relatives were selectively impaired in action semantics and in the more complex syntactic task, with both patterns emerging irrespective of the subjects' overall cognitive state. Our findings highlight the relevance of these dysfunctions as potential prodromal biomarkers of HD. Moreover, they offer theoretical insights into the differential contributions of frontostriatal hubs to both domains while paving the way for innovations in diagnostic procedures. © 2017 The British Psychological Society.

  19. Test-Retest Reliability of Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Cole, James H; Farmer, Ruth E; Rees, Elin M; Johnson, Hans J; Frost, Chris; Scahill, Rachael I; Hobbs, Nicola Z

    2014-03-21

    Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has shown microstructural abnormalities in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD) and work is underway to characterise how these abnormalities change with disease progression. Using methods that will be applied in longitudinal research, we sought to establish the reliability of DTI in early HD patients and controls. Test-retest reliability, quantified using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), was assessed using region-of-interest (ROI)-based white matter atlas and voxelwise approaches on repeat scan data from 22 participants (10 early HD, 12 controls). T1 data was used to generate further ROIs for analysis in a reduced sample of 18 participants. The results suggest that fractional anisotropy (FA) and other diffusivity metrics are generally highly reliable, with ICCs indicating considerably lower within-subject compared to between-subject variability in both HD patients and controls. Where ICC was low, particularly for the diffusivity measures in the caudate and putamen, this was partly influenced by outliers. The analysis suggests that the specific DTI methods used here are appropriate for cross-sectional research in HD, and give confidence that they can also be applied longitudinally, although this requires further investigation. An important caveat for DTI studies is that test-retest reliability may not be evenly distributed throughout the brain whereby highly anisotropic white matter regions tended to show lower relative within-subject variability than other white or grey matter regions.

  20. Insights into gait disorders: walking variability using phase plot analysis, Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Collett, Johnny; Esser, Patrick; Khalil, Hanan; Busse, Monica; Quinn, Lori; DeBono, Katy; Rosser, Anne; Nemeth, Andrea H; Dawes, Helen

    2014-09-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Identifying sensitive methodologies to quantitatively measure early motor changes have been difficult to develop. This exploratory observational study investigated gait variability and symmetry in HD using phase plot analysis. We measured the walking of 22 controls and 35 HD gene carriers (7 premanifest (PreHD)), 16 early/mid (HD1) and 12 late stage (HD2) in Oxford and Cardiff, UK. The unified Huntington's disease rating scale-total motor scores (UHDRS-TMS) and disease burden scores (DBS) were used to quantify disease severity. Data was collected during a clinical walk test (8.8 or 10 m) using an inertial measurement unit attached to the trunk. The 6 middle strides were used to calculate gait variability determined by spatiotemporal parameters (co-efficient of variation (CoV)) and phase plot analysis. Phase plots considered the variability in consecutive wave forms from vertical movement and were quantified by SDA (spatiotemporal variability), SDB (temporal variability), ratio ∀ (ratio SDA:SDB) and Δangleβ (symmetry). Step time CoV was greater in manifest HD (p<0.01, both manifest groups) than controls, as was stride length CoV for HD2 (p<0.01). No differences were found in spatiotemporal variability between PreHD and controls (p>0.05). Phase plot analysis identified differences between manifest HD and controls for SDB, Ratio ∀ and Δangle (all p<0.01, both manifest groups). Furthermore Ratio ∀ was smaller in PreHD compared with controls (p<0.01). Ratio ∀ also produced the strongest correlation with UHDRS-TMS (r=-0.61, p<0.01) and was correlated with DBS (r=-0.42, p=0.02). Phase plot analysis may be a sensitive method of detecting gait changes in HD and can be performed quickly during clinical walking tests. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Living at Risk: Concealing Risk and Preserving Hope in Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Sims, Sharon L.; Swenson, Melinda M.; Harrison, Joan M.; Moskowitz, Carol; Stepanov, Nonna; Suter, Gregory W.; Westphal, Beryl J.

    2013-01-01

    Much of the qualitative research on Huntington disease has focused on the genetic testing aspects of HD. The overall purpose of this qualitative study was to gather information about the everyday experience of living with the risk of developing Huntington disease in a sample of individuals at risk for HD who have chosen not to pursue genetic testing. Data for this article was obtained from unstructured, open-ended qualitative interviews of a sample of people participating in the PHAROS study. PHAROS, the Prospective Huntington At-Risk Observational Study, is a multi-site study that aims to establish whether experienced clinicians can reliably determine the earliest clinical symptoms of Huntington disease in individuals at 50% risk for HD who have chosen not to undergo genetic testing. Interviews were conducted at six PHAROS research sites across the United States. In this paper, the research team used qualitative description to construct and explore two main themes: (1) careful concealment of risk as an act of self-preservation and (2) preserving hope. PMID:17943424

  2. Clinical utility of FDG-PET in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Agosta, Federica; Altomare, Daniele; Festari, Cristina; Orini, Stefania; Gandolfo, Federica; Boccardi, Marina; Arbizu, Javier; Bouwman, Femke; Drzezga, Alexander; Nestor, Peter; Nobili, Flavio; Walker, Zuzana; Pagani, Marco

    2018-05-01

    To evaluate the incremental value of FDG-PET over clinical tests in: (i) diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); (ii) picking early signs of neurodegeneration in patients with a genetic risk of Huntington's disease (HD); and detecting metabolic changes related to cognitive impairment in (iii) ALS and (iv) HD patients. Four comprehensive literature searches were conducted using the PICO model to extract evidence from relevant studies. An expert panel then voted using the Delphi method on these four diagnostic scenarios. The availability of evidence was good for FDG-PET utility to support the diagnosis of ALS, poor for identifying presymptomatic subjects carrying HD mutation who will convert to HD, and lacking for identifying cognitive-related metabolic changes in both ALS and HD. After the Delphi consensual procedure, the panel did not support the clinical use of FDG-PET for any of the four scenarios. Relative to other neurodegenerative diseases, the clinical use of FDG-PET in ALS and HD is still in its infancy. Once validated by disease-control studies, FDG-PET might represent a potentially useful biomarker for ALS diagnosis. FDG-PET is presently not justified as a routine investigation to predict conversion to HD, nor to detect evidence of brain dysfunction justifying cognitive decline in ALS and HD.

  3. Degradation of misfolded proteins by autophagy: is it a strategy for Huntington's disease treatment?

    PubMed

    Lin, Fang; Qin, Zheng-Hong

    2013-01-01

    Autophagy is a degradation pathway for long-lived cytoplasmic proteins, protein complexes, or damaged organelles. The accumulation and aggregation of misfolded proteins are hallmarks of several neurodegenerative diseases. Many researchers have reported that autophagy degrades disease-causing misfolded and aggregated proteins, including mutant huntingtin (Htt) in Huntington's disease, mutant synuclein in familial Parkingson's disease, mutant Cu, Zn-Superoxide dismutase (SOD1) in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this review, we will bring up new evidence to elucidate the involvement of autophagy in degradation of mutant Htt, discuss the mechanisms regulating the degradation of mutant Htt by autophagy and the therapeutic effects of drugs that enhance autophagy to improve clearance of mutant Htt. We propose that enhancement of autophagy by drugs may be a strategy to treat or retard progression of Huntington's disease.

  4. Laquinimod dampens hyperactive cytokine production in Huntington's disease patient myeloid cells.

    PubMed

    Dobson, Lucianne; Träger, Ulrike; Farmer, Ruth; Hayardeny, Liat; Loupe, Pippa; Hayden, Michael R; Tabrizi, Sarah J

    2016-06-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by pathology in the brain and peripheral tissues. Hyperactivity of the innate immune system, due in part to NFκB pathway dysregulation, is an early and active component of HD. Evidence suggests targeting immune disruption may slow disease progression. Laquinimod is an orally active immunomodulator that down-regulates proinflammatory cytokine production in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and in the brain down-regulates astrocytic and microglial activation by modulating NFκB signalling. Laquinimod had beneficial effects on inflammation, brain atrophy and disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS) in two phase III clinical trials. This study investigated the effects of laquinimod on hyperactive proinflammatory cytokine release and NFκB signalling in HD patient myeloid cell cultures. Monocytes from manifest (manHD) and pre-manifest (preHD) HD gene carriers and healthy volunteers (HV) were treated with laquinimod and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide. After 24 h pre-treatment with 5 μM laquinimod, manHD monocytes released lower levels of IL-1β, IL-5, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13 and TNFα in response to stimulation. PreHD monocytes released lower levels of IL-8, IL-10 and IL-13, with no reduction observed in HV monocytes. The effects of laquinimod on dysfunctional NFκB signalling in HD was assessed by inhibitor of kappa B (IκB) degradation kinetics, nuclear translocation of NFκB and interactions between IκB kinase (IKK) and HTT, in HD myeloid cells. No differences were observed between laquinimod-treated and untreated conditions. These results provide evidence that laquinimod dampens hyper-reactive cytokine release from manHD and preHD monocytes, with a much reduced effect on HV monocytes. Evidence suggests targeting CNS and peripheral immune disruption may slow Huntington's disease (HD) neurodegenerative processes. The effects of laquinimod, an orally active immunomodulator, on

  5. A study of the CCG polymorphism in the IT15 cDNA in the Scottish Huntington`s disease and normal populations

    SciT

    Barron, L.H.; Rae, A.; Brock, D.J.H.

    1994-09-01

    The CCG rich sequence immediately 3{prime} to the CAG repeat that is expanded in Huntington`s disease (HD) has recently been shown to be polymorphic with at least 5 alleles differing by multiples of 3 bp being found in the normal population. We have studied the allele distribution in 200 Scottish HD families and have found very strong evidence for almost complete disequilibrium in this population. For all the families phase was unambiguously determined and 196 were shown to have a CCG repeat allele of 176 bp cosegregating with the HD chromosome. This observation is significantly different to the normal populationmore » distribution where 31% of people have an allele of 185 bp. This overrepresentation of the 176 bp allele is also seen in the normal population on chromosomes with greater than 26 CAG repeats. The DNA sequence across the CAG and CCG repeats has been obtained for the four HD patients that do not have a 176 bp CCG repeat size and will be presented. We present strong evidence of genetic heterogeneity in the Scottish HD population making it very unlikely that there is a founder effect in the Scottish HD population. These data suggest that we may have identified a region of the IT15 gene that is critical in the mechanism of Huntington`s disease CAG expansion.« less

  6. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    McGarry, Andrew; McDermott, Michael; Kieburtz, Karl; de Blieck, Elisabeth A; Beal, Flint; Marder, Karen; Ross, Christopher; Shoulson, Ira; Gilbert, Peter; Mallonee, William M; Guttman, Mark; Wojcieszek, Joanne; Kumar, Rajeev; LeDoux, Mark S; Jenkins, Mary; Rosas, H Diana; Nance, Martha; Biglan, Kevin; Como, Peter; Dubinsky, Richard M; Shannon, Kathleen M; O'Suilleabhain, Padraig; Chou, Kelvin; Walker, Francis; Martin, Wayne; Wheelock, Vicki L; McCusker, Elizabeth; Jankovic, Joseph; Singer, Carlos; Sanchez-Ramos, Juan; Scott, Burton; Suchowersky, Oksana; Factor, Stewart A; Higgins, Donald S; Molho, Eric; Revilla, Fredy; Caviness, John N; Friedman, Joseph H; Perlmutter, Joel S; Feigin, Andrew; Anderson, Karen; Rodriguez, Ramon; McFarland, Nikolaus R; Margolis, Russell L; Farbman, Eric S; Raymond, Lynn A; Suski, Valerie; Kostyk, Sandra; Colcher, Amy; Seeberger, Lauren; Epping, Eric; Esmail, Sherali; Diaz, Nancy; Fung, Wai Lun Alan; Diamond, Alan; Frank, Samuel; Hanna, Philip; Hermanowicz, Neal; Dure, Leon S; Cudkowicz, Merit

    2017-01-10

    To test the hypothesis that chronic treatment of early-stage Huntington disease (HD) with high-dose coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) will slow the progressive functional decline of HD. We performed a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients with early-stage HD (n = 609) were enrolled at 48 sites in the United States, Canada, and Australia from 2008 to 2012. Patients were randomized to receive either CoQ 2,400 mg/d or matching placebo, then followed for 60 months. The primary outcome variable was the change from baseline to month 60 in Total Functional Capacity score (for patients who survived) combined with time to death (for patients who died) analyzed using a joint-rank analysis approach. An interim analysis for futility revealed a conditional power of <5% for the primary analysis, prompting premature conclusion in July 2014. No statistically significant differences were seen between treatment groups for the primary or secondary outcome measures. CoQ was generally safe and well-tolerated throughout the study. These data do not justify use of CoQ as a treatment to slow functional decline in HD. NCT00608881. This article provides Class I evidence that CoQ does not slow the progressive functional decline of patients with HD. © 2016 American Academy of Neurology.

  7. Presence of tau pathology within foetal neural allografts in patients with Huntington's and Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Cisbani, Giulia; Maxan, Alexander; Kordower, Jeffrey H; Planel, Emmanuel; Freeman, Thomas B; Cicchetti, Francesca

    2017-11-01

    Cell replacement has been explored as a therapeutic strategy to repair the brain in patients with Huntington's and Parkinson's disease. Post-mortem evaluations of healthy grafted tissue in such cases have revealed the development of Huntington- or Parkinson-like pathology including mutant huntingtin aggregates and Lewy bodies. An outstanding question remains if tau pathology can also be seen in patients with Huntington's and Parkinson's disease who had received foetal neural allografts. This was addressed by immunohistochemical/immunofluorescent stainings performed on grafted tissue of two Huntington's disease patients, who came to autopsy 9 and 12 years post-transplantation, and two patients with Parkinson's disease who came to autopsy 18 months and 16 years post-transplantation. We show that grafts also contain tau pathology in both types of transplanted patients. In two patients with Huntington's disease, the grafted tissue showed the presence of hyperphosphorylated tau [both AT8 (phospho-tau Ser202 and Thr205) and CP13 (pSer202) immunohistochemical stainings] pathological inclusions, neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads. In patients with Parkinson's disease, the grafted tissue was characterized by hyperphosphorylated tau (AT8; immunofluorescent staining) pathological inclusions, neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads but only in the patient who came to autopsy 16 years post-transplantation. Abundant tau-related pathology was observed in the cortex and striatum of all cases studied. While the striatum of the grafted Huntington's disease patient revealed an equal amount of 3-repeat and 4-repeat isoforms of tau, the grafted tissue showed elevated 4-repeat isoforms by western blot. This suggests that transplants may have acquired tau pathology from the host brain, although another possibility is that this was due to acceleration of ageing. This finding not only adds to the recent reports that tau pathology is a feature of these neurodegenerative

  8. Identification of combinatorial drug regimens for treatment of Huntington's disease using Drosophila

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agrawal, Namita; Pallos, Judit; Slepko, Natalia; Apostol, Barbara L.; Bodai, Laszlo; Chang, Ling-Wen; Chiang, Ann-Shyn; Michels Thompson, Leslie; Marsh, J. Lawrence

    2005-03-01

    We explore the hypothesis that pathology of Huntington's disease involves multiple cellular mechanisms whose contributions to disease are incrementally additive or synergistic. We provide evidence that the photoreceptor neuron degeneration seen in flies expressing mutant human huntingtin correlates with widespread degenerative events in the Drosophila CNS. We use a Drosophila Huntington's disease model to establish dose regimens and protocols to assess the effectiveness of drug combinations used at low threshold concentrations. These proof of principle studies identify at least two potential combinatorial treatment options and illustrate a rapid and cost-effective paradigm for testing and optimizing combinatorial drug therapies while reducing side effects for patients with neurodegenerative disease. The potential for using prescreening in Drosophila to inform combinatorial therapies that are most likely to be effective for testing in mammals is discussed. combinatorial treatments | neurodegeneration

  9. Neuro-Cardio Mechanisms in Huntington's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Disorders.

    PubMed

    Critchley, Bethan J; Isalan, Mark; Mielcarek, Michal

    2018-01-01

    Although Huntington's disease is generally considered to be a neurological disorder, there is mounting evidence that heart malfunction plays an important role in disease progression. This is perhaps not unexpected since both cardiovascular and nervous systems are strongly connected - both developmentally and subsequently in health and disease. This connection occurs through a system of central and peripheral neurons that control cardiovascular performance, while in return the cardiovascular system works as a sensor for the nervous system to react to physiological events. Hence, given their permanent interconnectivity, any pathological events occurring in one system might affect the second. In addition, some pathological signals from Huntington's disease might occur simultaneously in both the cardiovascular and nervous systems, since mutant huntingtin protein is expressed in both. Here we aim to review the source of HD-related cardiomyopathy in the light of recently published studies, and to identify similarities between HD-related cardiomyopathy and other neuro-cardio disorders.

  10. The potential of composite cognitive scores for tracking progression in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Jones, Rebecca; Stout, Julie C; Labuschagne, Izelle; Say, Miranda; Justo, Damian; Coleman, Allison; Dumas, Eve M; Hart, Ellen; Owen, Gail; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund; O'Regan, Alison; Langbehn, Doug; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Frost, Chris

    2014-01-01

    Composite scores derived from joint statistical modelling of individual risk factors are widely used to identify individuals who are at increased risk of developing disease or of faster disease progression. We investigated the ability of composite measures developed using statistical models to differentiate progressive cognitive deterioration in Huntington's disease (HD) from natural decline in healthy controls. Using longitudinal data from TRACK-HD, the optimal combinations of quantitative cognitive measures to differentiate premanifest and early stage HD individuals respectively from controls was determined using logistic regression. Composite scores were calculated from the parameters of each statistical model. Linear regression models were used to calculate effect sizes (ES) quantifying the difference in longitudinal change over 24 months between premanifest and early stage HD groups respectively and controls. ES for the composites were compared with ES for individual cognitive outcomes and other measures used in HD research. The 0.632 bootstrap was used to eliminate biases which result from developing and testing models in the same sample. In early HD, the composite score from the HD change prediction model produced an ES for difference in rate of 24-month change relative to controls of 1.14 (95% CI: 0.90 to 1.39), larger than the ES for any individual cognitive outcome and UHDRS Total Motor Score and Total Functional Capacity. In addition, this composite gave a statistically significant difference in rate of change in premanifest HD compared to controls over 24-months (ES: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.04 to 0.44), even though none of the individual cognitive outcomes produced statistically significant ES over this period. Composite scores developed using appropriate statistical modelling techniques have the potential to materially reduce required sample sizes for randomised controlled trials.

  11. Reduced bioavailable manganese causes striatal urea cycle pathology in Huntington's disease mouse model.

    PubMed

    Bichell, Terry Jo V; Wegrzynowicz, Michal; Tipps, K Grace; Bradley, Emma M; Uhouse, Michael A; Bryan, Miles; Horning, Kyle; Fisher, Nicole; Dudek, Karrie; Halbesma, Timothy; Umashanker, Preethi; Stubbs, Andrew D; Holt, Hunter K; Kwakye, Gunnar F; Tidball, Andrew M; Colbran, Roger J; Aschner, Michael; Neely, M Diana; Di Pardo, Alba; Maglione, Vittorio; Osmand, Alexander; Bowman, Aaron B

    2017-06-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene (HTT), resulting in profound striatal neurodegeneration through an unknown mechanism. Perturbations in the urea cycle have been reported in HD models and in HD patient blood and brain. In neurons, arginase is a central urea cycle enzyme, and the metal manganese (Mn) is an essential cofactor. Deficient biological responses to Mn, and reduced Mn accumulation have been observed in HD striatal mouse and cell models. Here we report in vivo and ex vivo evidence of a urea cycle metabolic phenotype in a prodromal HD mouse model. Further, either in vivo or in vitro Mn supplementation reverses the urea-cycle pathology by restoring arginase activity. We show that Arginase 2 (ARG2) is the arginase enzyme present in these mouse brain models, with ARG2 protein levels directly increased by Mn exposure. ARG2 protein is not reduced in the prodromal stage, though enzyme activity is reduced, indicating that altered Mn bioavailability as a cofactor leads to the deficient enzymatic activity. These data support a hypothesis that mutant HTT leads to a selective deficiency of neuronal Mn at an early disease stage, contributing to HD striatal urea-cycle pathophysiology through an effect on arginase activity. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Apolipoprotein E genotypes do not influence the age of onset in Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Saft, C; Andrich, J; Brune, N; Gencik, M; Kraus, P; Przuntek, H; Epplen, J

    2004-01-01

    Objective: The ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene has been defined as a critical factor for early onset neurodegeneration in Pick's, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease. Unexpectedly, the ε4 allele appeared to delay the age of onset in Huntington's disease (HD) patients. Furthermore, sex specific effects were reported on earlier age of onset due to the ApoE ε2ε3 genotype in males with HD. The age of onset of HD is known to be negatively correlated with increasing lengths of pathogenetic CAG expansions in the huntingtin gene. Methods: In order to examine the effects of CAG block lengths, we have correlated ApoE genotypes with the age of onset in 145 patients symptomatic for HD with psychiatric and somatic symptoms (depression, psychosis, dementia, choreic, and other movement disorders) harbouring only modestly expanded huntingtin alleles (41–45 CAGs). Results: The negative correlation between age of onset and CAG block length was established in our HD cohort. Statistically significant effects of the ε4 allele were not obvious regarding clinical characteristics including age of onset, nor were any sex differences for the ε2ε3 genotype observed. Conclusion: The ApoE genotype does not affect the course of HD significantly. PMID:15548484

  13. Survey of the Huntington's Disease Patient and Caregiver Community Reveals Most Impactful Symptoms and Treatment Needs.

    PubMed

    Simpson, Jennifer A; Lovecky, Debra; Kogan, Jane; Vetter, Louise A; Yohrling, George J

    2016-12-15

    In preparation for a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Patient-Focused Drug Development in Huntington's disease, the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) created and distributed two comprehensive surveys on the symptom experience and treatment approaches for Huntington's disease. The objective of these surveys was to identify the specific symptoms that most impact the daily lives of individuals with Huntington's disease/Juvenile Huntington's disease (HD/JHD) and their caregivers and to solicit input on the types of treatments desired by HD affected families. The data were shared with the FDA to offer background and insight in preparation for the patient-focused meeting, as well as to ensure representation by the community in a manner that would complement those who attended in person. Two distinct surveys were created using SurveyMonkey to capture patient and caregiver perspectives on HD symptoms and current treatments. HDSA distributed the surveys to the HD community in August and September 2014 and collected responses through January 2015. More than 3,600 responses to the two surveys were received. The data showed that both caregivers and individuals with HD were severely impacted by the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of HD with HD patients reporting problems with executive functioning and cognitive decline as most impactful to them. However, 30 percent of caregivers reported that chorea was the most impactful symptom compared to 17 percent of people with HD. Across all the symptom categories, patients reported a lower occurrence of symptoms than were reported by their caregivers. With only one drug approved for treatment of a symptom of Huntington's disease and no disease modifying treatments available, there is a critical need for new medicines to treat the cognitive, psychiatric and motor symptoms associated with HD. While the surveys did not capture risk/benefit data, the data collected do provide new insights around the

  14. Assessing Behavioural Manifestations Prior to Clinical Diagnosis of Huntington Disease: "Anger and Irritability" and "Obsessions and Compulsions"

    PubMed Central

    Vaccarino, Anthony L; Anonymous; Anderson, Karen E.; Borowsky, Beth; Coccaro, Emil; Craufurd, David; Endicott, Jean; Giuliano, Joseph; Groves, Mark; Guttman, Mark; Ho, Aileen K; Kupchak, Peter; Paulsen, Jane S.; Stanford, Matthew S.; van Kammen, Daniel P; Watson, David; Wu, Kevin D; Evans, Ken

    2011-01-01

    The Functional Rating Scale Taskforce for pre-Huntington Disease (FuRST-pHD) is a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative with the goal of developing a data-driven, comprehensive, psychometrically sound, rating scale for assessing symptoms and functional ability in prodromal and early Huntington disease (HD) gene expansion carriers. The process involves input from numerous sources to identify relevant symptom domains, including HD individuals, caregivers, and experts from a variety of fields, as well as knowledge gained from the analysis of data from ongoing large-scale studies in HD using existing clinical scales. This is an iterative process in which an ongoing series of field tests in prodromal (prHD) and early HD individuals provides the team with data on which to make decisions regarding which questions should undergo further development or testing and which should be excluded. We report here the development and assessment of the first iteration of interview questions aimed to assess "Anger and Irritability" and "Obsessions and Compulsions" in prHD individuals. PMID:21826116

  15. Functional imaging of cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Ma, Yilong; Eidelberg, David

    2007-01-01

    Brain imaging of cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism has been playing key roles in describing pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD), respectively. Many biomarkers have been developed in recent years to investigate the abnormality in molecular substrate, track the time course of disease progression, and evaluate the efficacy of novel experimental therapeutics. A growing body of literature has emerged on neurobiology of these two movement disorders in resting states and in response to brain activation tasks. In this paper, we review the latest applications of these approaches in patients and normal volunteers at rest conditions. The discussions focus on brain mapping studies with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses on a voxel basis. In particular, we present data to validate the reproducibility and reliability of unique spatial covariance patterns related with PD and HD.

  16. Linking white matter and deep gray matter alterations in premanifest Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Faria, Andreia V; Ratnanather, J Tilak; Tward, Daniel J; Lee, David Soobin; van den Noort, Frieda; Wu, Dan; Brown, Timothy; Johnson, Hans; Paulsen, Jane S; Ross, Christopher A; Younes, Laurent; Miller, Michael I

    2016-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disorder for which only symptomatic treatment is available. A better understanding of the pathology, and identification of biomarkers will facilitate the development of disease-modifying treatments. HD is potentially a good model of a neurodegenerative disease for development of biomarkers because it is an autosomal-dominant disease with complete penetrance, caused by a single gene mutation, in which the neurodegenerative process can be assessed many years before onset of signs and symptoms of manifest disease. Previous MRI studies have detected abnormalities in gray and white matter starting in premanifest stages. However, the understanding of how these abnormalities are related, both in time and space, is still incomplete. In this study, we combined deep gray matter shape diffeomorphometry and white matter DTI analysis in order to provide a better mapping of pathology in the deep gray matter and subcortical white matter in premanifest HD. We used 296 MRI scans from the PREDICT-HD database. Atrophy in the deep gray matter, thalamus, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens was analyzed by surface based morphometry, and while white matter abnormalities were analyzed in (i) regions of interest surrounding these structures, using (ii) tractography-based analysis, and using (iii) whole brain atlas-based analysis. We detected atrophy in the deep gray matter, particularly in putamen, from early premanifest stages. The atrophy was greater both in extent and effect size in cases with longer exposure to the effects of the CAG expansion mutation (as assessed by greater CAP-scores), and preceded detectible abnormalities in the white matter. Near the predicted onset of manifest HD, the MD increase was widespread, with highest indices in the deep and posterior white matter. This type of in-vivo macroscopic mapping of HD brain abnormalities can potentially indicate when and where therapeutics could be targeted to delay

  17. A role for Kalirin-7 in corticostriatal synaptic dysfunction in Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Puigdellívol, Mar; Cherubini, Marta; Brito, Verónica; Giralt, Albert; Suelves, Núria; Ballesteros, Jesús; Zamora-Moratalla, Alfonsa; Martín, Eduardo D.; Eipper, Betty A.; Alberch, Jordi; Ginés, Silvia

    2015-01-01

    Cognitive dysfunction is an early clinical hallmark of Huntington's disease (HD) preceding the appearance of motor symptoms by several years. Neuronal dysfunction and altered corticostriatal connectivity have been postulated to be fundamental to explain these early disturbances. However, no treatments to attenuate cognitive changes have been successful: the reason may rely on the idea that the temporal sequence of pathological changes is as critical as the changes per se when new therapies are in development. To this aim, it becomes critical to use HD mouse models in which cognitive impairments appear prior to motor symptoms. In this study, we demonstrate procedural memory and motor learning deficits in two different HD mice and at ages preceding motor disturbances. These impairments are associated with altered corticostriatal long-term potentiation (LTP) and specific reduction of dendritic spine density and postsynaptic density (PSD)-95 and spinophilin-positive clusters in the cortex of HD mice. As a potential mechanism, we described an early decrease of Kalirin-7 (Kal7), a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor for Rho-like small GTPases critical to maintain excitatory synapse, in the cortex of HD mice. Supporting a role for Kal7 in HD synaptic deficits, exogenous expression of Kal7 restores the reduction of excitatory synapses in HD cortical cultures. Altogether, our results suggest that cortical dysfunction precedes striatal disturbances in HD and underlie early corticostriatal LTP and cognitive defects. Moreover, we identified diminished Kal7 as a key contributor to HD cortical alterations, placing Kal7 as a molecular target for future therapies aimed to restore corticostriatal function in HD. PMID:26464483

  18. Impaired development of cortico-striatal synaptic connectivity in a cell culture model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Buren, Caodu; Parsons, Matthew P; Smith-Dijak, Amy; Raymond, Lynn A

    2016-03-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetically inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a mutation in the gene encoding the huntingtin protein. This mutation results in progressive cell death that is particularly striking in the striatum. Recent evidence indicates that early HD is initially a disease of the synapse, in which subtle alterations in synaptic neurotransmission, particularly at the cortico-striatal (C-S) synapse, can be detected well in advance of cell death. Here, we used a cell culture model in which striatal neurons are co-cultured with cortical neurons, and monitored the development of C-S connectivity up to 21days in vitro (DIV) in cells cultured from either the YAC128 mouse model of HD or the background strain, FVB/N (wild-type; WT) mice. Our data demonstrate that while C-S connectivity in WT co-cultures develops rapidly and continuously from DIV 7 to 21, YAC128 C-S connectivity shows no significant growth from DIV 14 onward. Morphological and electrophysiological data suggest that a combination of pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms contribute to this effect, including a reduction in both the postsynaptic dendritic arborization and the size and replenishment rate of the presynaptic readily releasable pool of excitatory vesicles. Moreover, a chimeric culture strategy confirmed that the most robust impairment in C-S connectivity was only observed when mutant huntingtin was expressed both pre- and postsynaptically. In all, our data demonstrate a progressive HD synaptic phenotype in this co-culture system that may be exploited as a platform for identifying promising therapeutic strategies to prevent early HD-associated synaptopathy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Control of Huntington's Disease-Associated Phenotypes by the Striatum-Enriched Transcription Factor Foxp2.

    PubMed

    Hachigian, Lea J; Carmona, Vitor; Fenster, Robert J; Kulicke, Ruth; Heilbut, Adrian; Sittler, Annie; Pereira de Almeida, Luís; Mesirov, Jill P; Gao, Fan; Kolaczyk, Eric D; Heiman, Myriam

    2017-12-05

    Alteration of corticostriatal glutamatergic function is an early pathophysiological change associated with Huntington's disease (HD). The factors that regulate the maintenance of corticostriatal glutamatergic synapses post-developmentally are not well understood. Recently, the striatum-enriched transcription factor Foxp2 was implicated in the development of these synapses. Here, we show that, in mice, overexpression of Foxp2 in the adult striatum of two models of HD leads to rescue of HD-associated behaviors, while knockdown of Foxp2 in wild-type mice leads to development of HD-associated behaviors. We note that Foxp2 encodes the longest polyglutamine repeat protein in the human reference genome, and we show that it can be sequestered into aggregates with polyglutamine-expanded mutant Huntingtin protein (mHTT). Foxp2 overexpression in HD model mice leads to altered expression of several genes associated with synaptic function, genes that present additional targets for normalization of corticostriatal dysfunction in HD. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Evaluating multicenter DTI data in Huntington's disease on site specific effects: An ex post facto approach☆

    PubMed Central

    Müller, Hans-Peter; Grön, Georg; Sprengelmeyer, Reiner; Kassubek, Jan; Ludolph, Albert C.; Hobbs, Nicola; Cole, James; Roos, Raymund A.C.; Duerr, Alexandra; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Landwehrmeyer, G. Bernhard; Süssmuth, Sigurd D.

    2013-01-01

    Purpose Assessment of the feasibility to average diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics of MRI data acquired in the course of a multicenter study. Materials and methods Sixty-one early stage Huntington's disease patients and forty healthy controls were studied using four different MR scanners at four European sites with acquisition protocols as close as possible to a given standard protocol. The potential and feasibility of averaging data acquired at different sites was evaluated quantitatively by region-of-interest (ROI) based statistical comparisons of coefficients of variation (CV) across centers, as well as by testing for significant group-by-center differences on averaged fractional anisotropy (FA) values between patients and controls. In addition, a whole-brain based statistical between-group comparison was performed using FA maps. Results The ex post facto statistical evaluation of CV and FA-values in a priori defined ROIs showed no differences between sites above chance indicating that data were not systematically biased by center specific factors. Conclusion Averaging FA-maps from DTI data acquired at different study sites and different MR scanner types does not appear to be systematically biased. A suitable recipe for testing on the possibility to pool multicenter DTI data is provided to permit averaging of DTI-derived metrics to differentiate patients from healthy controls at a larger scale. PMID:24179771

  1. Evaluating multicenter DTI data in Huntington's disease on site specific effects: An ex post facto approach.

    PubMed

    Müller, Hans-Peter; Grön, Georg; Sprengelmeyer, Reiner; Kassubek, Jan; Ludolph, Albert C; Hobbs, Nicola; Cole, James; Roos, Raymund A C; Duerr, Alexandra; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Landwehrmeyer, G Bernhard; Süssmuth, Sigurd D

    2013-01-01

    Assessment of the feasibility to average diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics of MRI data acquired in the course of a multicenter study. Sixty-one early stage Huntington's disease patients and forty healthy controls were studied using four different MR scanners at four European sites with acquisition protocols as close as possible to a given standard protocol. The potential and feasibility of averaging data acquired at different sites was evaluated quantitatively by region-of-interest (ROI) based statistical comparisons of coefficients of variation (CV) across centers, as well as by testing for significant group-by-center differences on averaged fractional anisotropy (FA) values between patients and controls. In addition, a whole-brain based statistical between-group comparison was performed using FA maps. The ex post facto statistical evaluation of CV and FA-values in a priori defined ROIs showed no differences between sites above chance indicating that data were not systematically biased by center specific factors. Averaging FA-maps from DTI data acquired at different study sites and different MR scanner types does not appear to be systematically biased. A suitable recipe for testing on the possibility to pool multicenter DTI data is provided to permit averaging of DTI-derived metrics to differentiate patients from healthy controls at a larger scale.

  2. Language processing within the striatum: evidence from a PET correlation study in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Teichmann, Marc; Gaura, Véronique; Démonet, Jean-François; Supiot, Frédéric; Delliaux, Marie; Verny, Christophe; Renou, Pierre; Remy, Philippe; Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine

    2008-04-01

    The role of sub-cortical structures in language processing, and more specifically of the striatum, remains controversial. In line with psycholinguistic models stating that language processing implies both the recovery of lexical information and the application of combinatorial rules, the striatum has been claimed to be involved either in the former component or in the latter. The present study reconciles these conflicting views by showing the striatum's involvement in both language processes, depending on distinct striatal sub-regions. Using PET scanning in a model of striatal disorders, namely Huntington's disease (HD), we correlated metabolic data of 31 early stage HD patients regarding different striatal sub-regions with behavioural scores on three rule/lexicon tasks drawn from word morphology, syntax and from a non-linguistic domain, namely arithmetic. Behavioural results reflected impairment on both processing aspects, while deficits predominated on rule application. Both correlated with the left striatum but involved distinct striatal sub-regions. We suggest that the left striatum encompasses linguistic and arithmetic circuits, which differ with respect to their anatomical and functional specification, comprising ventrally located regions dedicated to rule computations and more dorsal portions pertaining to lexical devices.

  3. Physical Therapy and Exercise Interventions in Huntington's Disease: A Mixed Methods Systematic Review.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Nora E; Rao, Ashwini K; Kegelmeyer, Deb; Kloos, Anne; Busse, Monica; Hartel, Lynda; Carrier, Judith; Quinn, Lori

    2017-01-01

    A number of studies evaluating physical therapy and exercise interventions in Huntington's disease have been conducted over the past 15 years. However, an assessment of the quality and strength of the evidence in support of these interventions is lacking. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the effectiveness of physical therapy and exercise interventions in people with Huntington's disease, and to examine the perceptions of patients, families and caregivers of these interventions. This mixed-methods systematic review utilized the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) approach and extraction tools to evaluate the literature from January 2003 until May 2016. The review considered interventions that included exercise and physical therapy interventions, and included both quantitative and qualitative outcome measures. Twenty (20) studies met the inclusion criteria, including eighteen (18) that had quantitative outcome measures and two (2) that utilized qualitative methods. JBI Levels of evidence for the 18 quantitative studies were as follows: Eight studies were at evidence Level 1, seven were at Level 2, two were at Level 3, and one was at Level 4. Our review suggests that there is preliminary support for the benefits of exercise and physical activity in Huntington's disease in terms of motor function, gait speed, and balance, as well as a range of physical and social benefits identified through patient-reported outcomes. Variability in mode of intervention as well as outcome measures limits the interpretability of these studies, and high-quality studies that incorporate adaptive trial designs for this rare disease are needed.

  4. Randomized controlled trial of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid in Huntington disease: the TREND-HD study.

    PubMed

    2008-12-01

    To determine whether ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid (ethyl-EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid, improves the motor features of Huntington disease. Six-month multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed by a 6-month open-label phase without disclosing initial treatment assignments. Forty-one research sites in the United States and Canada. Three hundred sixteen adults with Huntington disease, enriched for a population with shorter trinucleotide (cytosine-adenine-guanine) repeat length expansions. Random assignment to placebo or ethyl-EPA, 1 g twice a day, followed by open-label treatment with ethyl-EPA. Six-month change in the Total Motor Score 4 component of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale analyzed for all research participants and those with shorter cytosine-adenine-guanine repeat length expansions (<45). At 6 months, the Total Motor Score 4 point change for patients receiving ethyl-EPA did not differ from that for those receiving placebo. No differences were found in measures of function, cognition, or global impression. Before public disclosure of the 6-month placebo-controlled results, 192 individuals completed the open-label phase. The Total Motor Score 4 change did not worsen for those who received active treatment for 12 continuous months compared with those who received active treatment for only 6 months (2.0-point worsening; P=.02). Ethyl-EPA was not beneficial in patients with Huntington disease during 6 months of placebo-controlled evaluation. Clinical Trial Registry clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00146211.

  5. Motor cortex synchronization influences the rhythm of motor performance in premanifest huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Casula, Elias P; Mayer, Isabella M S; Desikan, Mahalekshmi; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Rothwell, John C; Orth, Michael

    2018-03-01

    In Huntington's disease there is evidence of structural damage in the motor system, but it is still unclear how to link this to the behavioral disorder of movement. One feature of choreic movement is variable timing and coordination between sequences of actions. We postulate this results from desynchronization of neural activity in cortical motor areas. The objective of this study was to explore the ability to synchronize activity in a motor network using transcranial magnetic stimulation and to relate this to timing of motor performance. We examined synchronization in oscillatory activity of cortical motor areas in response to an external input produced by a pulse of transcranial magnetic stimulation. We combined this with EEG to compare the response of 16 presymptomatic Huntington's disease participants with 16 age-matched healthy volunteers to test whether the strength of synchronization relates to the variability of motor performance at the following 2 tasks: a grip force task and a speeded-tapping task. Phase synchronization in response to M1 stimulation was lower in Huntington's disease than healthy volunteers (P < .01), resulting in a reduced cortical activity at global (P < .02) and local levels (P < .01). Participants who showed better timed motor performance also showed stronger oscillatory synchronization (r = -0.356; P < .05) and higher cortical activity (r = -0.393; P < .05). Our data may model the ability of the motor command to respond to more subtle, physiological inputs from other brain areas. This novel insight indicates that impairments of the timing accuracy of synchronization and desynchronization could be a physiological basis for some key clinical features of Huntington's disease. © 2018 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. © 2018 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

  6. The Effect of Music Therapy in Patients with Huntington's Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    PubMed

    van Bruggen-Rufi, Monique C H; Vink, Annemieke C; Wolterbeek, Ron; Achterberg, Wilco P; Roos, Raymund A C

    2017-01-01

    Music therapy may have beneficial effects on improving communication and expressive skills in patients with Huntington's disease (HD). Most studies are, however, small observational studies and methodologically limited. Therefore we conducted a multi-center randomized controlled trial. To determine the efficacy of music therapy in comparison with recreational therapy in improving quality of life of patients with advanced Huntington's disease by means of improving communication. Sixty-three HD-patients with a Total Functional Capacity (TFC) score of ≤7, admitted to four long-term care facilities in The Netherlands, were randomized to receive either group music therapy or group recreational therapy in 16 weekly sessions. They were assessed at baseline, after 8, 16 and 28 weeks using the Behaviour Observation Scale for Huntington (BOSH) and the Problem Behaviour Assessment-short version (PBA-s). A linear mixed model with repeated measures was used to compare the scores between the two groups. Group music therapy offered once weekly for 16 weeks to patients with Huntington's disease had no additional beneficial effect on communication or behavior compared to group recreational therapy. This was the first study to assess the effect of group music therapy on HD patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The beneficial effects of music therapy, recorded in many, mainly qualitative case reports and studies, could not be confirmed with the design (i.e. group therapy vs individual therapy) and outcome measures that have been used in the present study. A comprehensive process-evaluation alongside the present effect evaluation is therefore performed.

  7. EEG low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA) in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Painold, Annamaria; Anderer, Peter; Holl, Anna K; Letmaier, Martin; Saletu-Zyhlarz, Gerda M; Saletu, Bernd; Bonelli, Raphael M

    2011-05-01

    Previous studies have shown abnormal electroencephalography (EEG) in Huntington's disease (HD). The aim of the present investigation was to compare quantitatively analyzed EEGs of HD patients and controls by means of low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Further aims were to delineate the sensitivity and utility of EEG LORETA in the progression of HD, and to correlate parameters of cognitive and motor impairment with neurophysiological variables. In 55 HD patients and 55 controls a 3-min vigilance-controlled EEG (V-EEG) was recorded during midmorning hours. Power spectra and intracortical tomography were computed by LORETA in seven frequency bands and compared between groups. Spearman rank correlations were based on V-EEG and psychometric data. Statistical overall analysis by means of the omnibus significance test demonstrated significant (p < 0.01) differences between HD patients and controls. LORETA theta, alpha and beta power were decreased from early to late stages of the disease. Only advanced disease stages showed a significant increase in delta power, mainly in the right orbitofrontal cortex. Correlation analyses revealed that a decrease of alpha and theta power correlated significantly with increasing cognitive and motor decline. LORETA proved to be a sensitive instrument for detecting progressive electrophysiological changes in HD. Reduced alpha power seems to be a trait marker of HD, whereas increased prefrontal delta power seems to reflect worsening of the disease. Motor function and cognitive function deteriorate together with a decrease in alpha and theta power. This data set, so far the largest in HD research, helps to elucidate remaining uncertainties about electrophysiological abnormalities in HD.

  8. Prevalence of Huntington's disease gene CAG trinucleotide repeat alleles in patients with bipolar disorder.

    PubMed

    Ramos, Eliana Marisa; Gillis, Tammy; Mysore, Jayalakshmi S; Lee, Jong-Min; Alonso, Isabel; Gusella, James F; Smoller, Jordan W; Sklar, Pamela; MacDonald, Marcy E; Perlis, Roy H

    2015-06-01

    Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms that are caused by huntingtin gene (HTT) CAG trinucleotide repeat alleles of 36 or more units. A greater than expected prevalence of incompletely penetrant HTT CAG repeat alleles observed among individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder raises the possibility that another mood disorder, bipolar disorder, could likewise be associated with Huntington's disease. We assessed the distribution of HTT CAG repeat alleles in a cohort of individuals with bipolar disorder. HTT CAG allele sizes from 2,229 Caucasian individuals diagnosed with DSM-IV bipolar disorder were compared to allele sizes in 1,828 control individuals from multiple cohorts. We found that HTT CAG repeat alleles > 35 units were observed in only one of 4,458 chromosomes from individuals with bipolar disorder, compared to three of 3,656 chromosomes from control subjects. These findings do not support an association between bipolar disorder and Huntington's disease. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Feasibility of computerized working memory training in individuals with Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Sadeghi, Mahsa; Barlow-Krelina, Emily; Gibbons, Clare; Shaikh, Komal T.; Fung, Wai Lun Alan; Meschino, Wendy S.; Till, Christine

    2017-01-01

    Objectives Huntington disease (HD) is associated with a variety of cognitive deficits, with prominent difficulties in working memory (WM). WM deficits are notably compromised in early-onset and prodromal HD patients. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of a computerized WM training program (Cogmed QM), novel to the HD population. Methods Nine patients, aged 26–62, with early stage HD underwent a 25-session (5 days/week for 5 weeks) WM training program (Cogmed QM). Training exercises involved the manipulation and storage of verbal and visuospatial information, with difficulty adapted as a function of individual performance. Neuropsychological testing was conducted before and after training, and performance on criterion WM measures (Digit Span and Spatial Span), near-transfer WM measures (Symbol Span and Auditory WM), and control measures were evaluated. Post-training interviews about patient experience were thematically analyzed using NVivo software. Results Seven of nine patients demonstrated adherence to the training and completed all sessions within the recommended timeframe of 5 weeks. All adherent patients showed improvement on the Cogmed tasks as defined by the Improvement Index (M = 22.17, SD = 8.84, range = 13–36). All adherent patients reported that they found training helpful (n = 7), and almost all felt that their memory improved (n = 6). Participants also expressed that the training was difficult, sometimes frustrating, and time consuming. Conclusions This pilot study provides support for feasibility of computerized WM training in early-stage patients with HD. Results suggest that HD patients perceive benefits of intensive WM training, though a full-scale and controlled intervention project is needed to understand the size of the effect and reliability of changes over time. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, Registry number NCT02926820 PMID:28453532

  10. The CREST-E study of creatine for Huntington disease: A randomized controlled trial.

    PubMed

    Hersch, Steven M; Schifitto, Giovanni; Oakes, David; Bredlau, Amy-Lee; Meyers, Catherine M; Nahin, Richard; Rosas, Herminia Diana

    2017-08-08

    To investigate whether creatine administration could slow progressive functional decline in adults with early symptoms of Huntington disease. We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of up to 40 g daily of creatine monohydrate in participants with stage I and II HD treated for up to 48 months. The primary outcome measure was the rate of change in total functional capacity (TFC) between baseline and end of follow-up. Secondary outcome measures included changes in additional clinical scores, tolerability, and quality of life. Safety was assessed by adverse events and laboratory studies. At 46 sites in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, 553 participants were randomized to creatine (275) or placebo (278). The trial was designed to enroll 650 patients, but was halted for futility after the first interim analysis. The estimated rates of decline in the primary outcome measure (TFC) were 0.82 points per year for participants on creatine, 0.70 points per year for participants on placebo, favoring placebo (nominal 95% confidence limits -0.11 to 0.35). Adverse events, mainly gastrointestinal, were significantly more common in participants on creatine. Serious adverse events, including deaths, were more frequent in the placebo group. Subgroup analysis suggested that men and women may respond differently to creatine treatment. Our data do not support the use of creatine treatment for delaying functional decline in early manifest HD. NCT00712426. This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with early symptomatic HD, creatine monohydrate is not beneficial for slowing functional decline. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.

  11. Identification of genetic variants associated with Huntington's disease progression: a genome-wide association study.

    PubMed

    Hensman Moss, Davina J; Pardiñas, Antonio F; Langbehn, Douglas; Lo, Kitty; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund; Durr, Alexandra; Mead, Simon; Holmans, Peter; Jones, Lesley; Tabrizi, Sarah J

    2017-09-01

    Huntington's disease is caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene, HTT. Age at onset has been used as a quantitative phenotype in genetic analysis looking for Huntington's disease modifiers, but is hard to define and not always available. Therefore, we aimed to generate a novel measure of disease progression and to identify genetic markers associated with this progression measure. We generated a progression score on the basis of principal component analysis of prospectively acquired longitudinal changes in motor, cognitive, and imaging measures in the 218 indivduals in the TRACK-HD cohort of Huntington's disease gene mutation carriers (data collected 2008-11). We generated a parallel progression score using data from 1773 previously genotyped participants from the European Huntington's Disease Network REGISTRY study of Huntington's disease mutation carriers (data collected 2003-13). We did a genome-wide association analyses in terms of progression for 216 TRACK-HD participants and 1773 REGISTRY participants, then a meta-analysis of these results was undertaken. Longitudinal motor, cognitive, and imaging scores were correlated with each other in TRACK-HD participants, justifying use of a single, cross-domain measure of disease progression in both studies. The TRACK-HD and REGISTRY progression measures were correlated with each other (r=0·674), and with age at onset (TRACK-HD, r=0·315; REGISTRY, r=0·234). The meta-analysis of progression in TRACK-HD and REGISTRY gave a genome-wide significant signal (p=1·12 × 10 -10 ) on chromosome 5 spanning three genes: MSH3, DHFR, and MTRNR2L2. The genes in this locus were associated with progression in TRACK-HD (MSH3 p=2·94 × 10 -8 DHFR p=8·37 × 10 -7 MTRNR2L2 p=2·15 × 10 -9 ) and to a lesser extent in REGISTRY (MSH3 p=9·36 × 10 -4 DHFR p=8·45 × 10 -4 MTRNR2L2 p=1·20 × 10 -3 ). The lead single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in TRACK-HD (rs557874766) was genome

  12. Huntington's disease predictive testing: the case for an assessment approach to requests from adolescents.

    PubMed Central

    Binedell, J; Soldan, J R; Scourfield, J; Harper, P S

    1996-01-01

    Adolescents who are actively requesting Huntington's predictive testing of their own accord pose a dilemma to those providing testing. In the absence of empirical evidence as regards the impact of genetic testing on minors, current policy and guidelines, based on the ethical principles of non-maleficence and respect for individual autonomy and confidentiality, generally exclude the testing of minors. It is argued that adherence to an age based exclusion criterion in Huntington's disease predictive testing protocols is out of step with trends in UK case law concerning minors' consent to medical treatment. Furthermore, contributions from developmental psychology and research into adolescents' decision making competence suggest that adolescents can make informed choices about their health and personal lives. Criteria for developing an assessment approach to such requests are put forward and the implications of a case by case evaluation of competence to consent in terms of clinicians' tolerance for uncertainty are discussed. PMID:8950670

  13. Acetylcholine and choline in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea.

    PubMed Central

    Welch, M J; Markham, C H; Jenden, D J

    1976-01-01

    Lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) acetylcholine (ACh) and choline (Ch) levels were measured in patients with Huntington's chorea (N=11), Parkinson's disease (N=8), and subjects at risk for Huntington's chorea (N=4), and all three groups were found not to differ significantly from normal controls (N=10). The values found for lumbar CSF ACh and Ch levels in the normal subjects were comparable with previously reported values. The use of physostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor, in collecting the CSF samples did not appear to make a difference with regard to ACh and Ch concentrations. Evidence suggesting a ventricular-lumbar gradient, with lumbar CSF Ch concentration being less than ventricular CSF Ch concentration, was found. Finally, ACh levels in CSF did not correlate with corresponding Ch levels. PMID:132512

  14. A Longitudinal Motor Characterisation of the HdhQ111 Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Yhnell, Emma; Dunnett, Stephen B; Brooks, Simon P

    2016-05-31

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a rare, incurable neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion with the first exon of the huntingtin gene. Numerous knock-in mouse models are currently available for modelling HD. However, before their use in scientific research, these models must be characterised to determine their face and predictive validity as models of the disease and their reliability in recapitulating HD symptoms. Manifest HD is currently diagnosed upon the onset of motor symptoms, thus we sought to longitudinally characterise the progression and severity of motor signs in the HdhQ111 knock-in mouse model of HD, in heterozygous mice. An extensive battery of motor tests including: rotarod, inverted lid test, balance beam, spontaneous locomotor activity and gait analysis were applied longitudinally to a cohort of HdhQ111 heterozygous mice in order to progressively assess motor function. A progressive failure to gain body weight was demonstrated from 11 months of age and motor problems in all measures of balance beam performance were shown in HdhQ111 heterozygous animals in comparison to wild type control animals from 9 months of age. A decreased latency to fall from the rotarod was demonstrated in HdhQ111 heterozygous animals in comparison to wild type animals, although this was not progressive with time. No genotype specific differences were demonstrated in any of the other motor tests included in the test battery. The HdhQ111 heterozygous mouse demonstrates a subtle and progressive motor phenotype that begins at 9 months of age. This mouse model represents an early disease stage and would be ideal for testing therapeutic strategies that require elongated lead-in times, such as viral gene therapies or striatal transplantation.

  15. Recommendations for the Use of Automated Gray Matter Segmentation Tools: Evidence from Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Eileanoir B; Gregory, Sarah; Johnson, Hans J; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund A; Rees, Geraint; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Scahill, Rachael I

    2017-01-01

    The selection of an appropriate segmentation tool is a challenge facing any researcher aiming to measure gray matter (GM) volume. Many tools have been compared, yet there is currently no method that can be recommended above all others; in particular, there is a lack of validation in disease cohorts. This work utilizes a clinical dataset to conduct an extensive comparison of segmentation tools. Our results confirm that all tools have advantages and disadvantages, and we present a series of considerations that may be of use when selecting a GM segmentation method, rather than a ranking of these tools. Seven segmentation tools were compared using 3 T MRI data from 20 controls, 40 premanifest Huntington's disease (HD), and 40 early HD participants. Segmented volumes underwent detailed visual quality control. Reliability and repeatability of total, cortical, and lobular GM were investigated in repeated baseline scans. The relationship between each tool was also examined. Longitudinal within-group change over 3 years was assessed via generalized least squares regression to determine sensitivity of each tool to disease effects. Visual quality control and raw volumes highlighted large variability between tools, especially in occipital and temporal regions. Most tools showed reliable performance and the volumes were generally correlated. Results for longitudinal within-group change varied between tools, especially within lobular regions. These differences highlight the need for careful selection of segmentation methods in clinical neuroimaging studies. This guide acts as a primer aimed at the novice or non-technical imaging scientist providing recommendations for the selection of cohort-appropriate GM segmentation software.

  16. Somatic instability of the expanded allele of IT-15 from patients with Huntington disease

    SciT

    Stine, O.C.; Pleasant, N.; Ross, C.A.

    1994-09-01

    Huntington`s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded trinucleotide repeat in the gene IT-15. Although the expanded allele of IT-15 is unstable during gametogenesis, particularly, spermatogenesis, it is not clear if there is somatic stability. There are two reports of stability and one of instability. In order to test whether somatic instability occurs in the expansions found in HD, we have compared amplified genomic DNA isolated from either blood or distinct regions of autopsied brains of persons with Huntington disease. We find that somatic variation occurs in at least two ways. First, in cases with longermore » repeats (n > 47), the cerebellum often (8 of 9 cases) has a smaller number of repeats (2 to 10 less) than other tested regions of the brain. The larger the expanded allele, the larger the reduction in size of the repeat in the cerebellum (r=0.94, p<0.0001, df=12). Second, regardless of the repeat size, the number of amplification products from genomic DNA isolated from the cerebellum is smaller than that from genomic DNA from other forebrain regions such as the dorsal parietal cortex. As the length of the expanded allele increases, the number of amplification products increase in either tissue (r=0.86, p<0.001, df=12). Therefore our data demonstrates somatic instability especially for longer repeats.« less

  17. Common disease signatures from gene expression analysis in Huntington's disease human blood and brain.

    PubMed

    Mina, Eleni; van Roon-Mom, Willeke; Hettne, Kristina; van Zwet, Erik; Goeman, Jelle; Neri, Christian; A C 't Hoen, Peter; Mons, Barend; Roos, Marco

    2016-08-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating brain disorder with no effective treatment or cure available. The scarcity of brain tissue makes it hard to study changes in the brain and impossible to perform longitudinal studies. However, peripheral pathology in HD suggests that it is possible to study the disease using peripheral tissue as a monitoring tool for disease progression and/or efficacy of novel therapies. In this study, we investigated if blood can be used to monitor disease severity and progression in brain. Since previous attempts using only gene expression proved unsuccessful, we compared blood and brain Huntington's disease signatures in a functional context. Microarray HD gene expression profiles from three brain regions were compared to the transcriptome of HD blood generated by next generation sequencing. The comparison was performed with a combination of weighted gene co-expression network analysis and literature based functional analysis (Concept Profile Analysis). Uniquely, our comparison of blood and brain datasets was not based on (the very limited) gene overlap but on the similarity between the gene annotations in four different semantic categories: "biological process", "cellular component", "molecular function" and "disease or syndrome". We identified signatures in HD blood reflecting a broad pathophysiological spectrum, including alterations in the immune response, sphingolipid biosynthetic processes, lipid transport, cell signaling, protein modification, spliceosome, RNA splicing, vesicle transport, cell signaling and synaptic transmission. Part of this spectrum was reminiscent of the brain pathology. The HD signatures in caudate nucleus and BA4 exhibited the highest similarity with blood, irrespective of the category of semantic annotations used. BA9 exhibited an intermediate similarity, while cerebellum had the least similarity. We present two signatures that were shared between blood and brain: immune response and spinocerebellar ataxias

  18. Pathophysiology and molecular basis of selected metabolic abnormalities in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Krzysztoń-Russjan, Jolanta

    2016-12-30

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an incurable, devastating neurodegenerative disease with a known genetic background and autosomally dominant inheritance pattern. HTT gene mutation (mHTT) is associated with polymorphic fragment elongation above 35 repeats of the CAG triplet. The mHTT product is an altered protein with a poly-Q elongated fragment, with the highest expression determined in the central nervous system (CNS) and with differentiated expression outside the CNS. A drastic loss of striatal and deeper layers of the cerebral cortex neurons was determined in the CNS, but muscle and body weight mass loss with dysfunction of many organs was also observed. HD symptoms include neurological disturbances, such as choreal movements with dystonia, speech and swallowing impairments, and additionally a variety of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms with cognitive decline have been described. They are the result of disturbances of several cellular pathways related to signal transmission, mitochondrial dysfunction and energy metabolism impairment shown by gene and protein expression and alteration of their functions. Impairment of energy processes demonstrated by a decrease of ATP production and increase of oxidative stress markers was determined in- and outside of the CNS in glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain. A correlation between the increase of energy metabolism impairment level and the increase in number of CAG repeats in HTT has often been described. The energy metabolism study is an initial stage of sensitive biomarkers and a new therapeutic investigative option for early application in order to inhibit pathological processes in HD. Identification of pathological changes outside the CNS requires a reevaluation of diagnostic and therapeutic rules in HD.

  19. Transcranial direct current stimulation can enhance working memory in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Eddy, Clare M; Shapiro, Kimron; Clouter, Andrew; Hansen, Peter C; Rickards, Hugh E

    2017-07-03

    Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a cognitive task can enhance targeted aspects of cognitive functioning in clinical populations. The movement disorder Huntington's disease (HD) is associated with progressive cognitive impairment. Deficits in working memory (WM) can be apparent early in the disease and impact functional capacity. We investigated whether tDCS combined with cognitive training could improve WM in patients with HD, and if baseline clinical or cognitive measures may predict efficacy. Twenty participants with HD completed this crossover trial, undergoing 1.5mA anodal tDCS over left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and sham stimulation on separate visits. Participants and assessor were blinded to condition order, which was randomised across participants. All participants completed baseline clinical and cognitive assessments. Pre- and post-stimulation tasks included digit reordering, computerised n-back tests and a Stroop task. During 15min of tDCS/sham stimulation, participants practiced 1- and 2-back WM tasks. Participants exhibited an increase in WM span on the digit re-ordering span task from pre- to post-stimulation after tDCS, but not after sham stimulation. Gains in WM were positively related to motor symptom ratings and negatively associated with verbal fluency scores. Patients with more severe motor symptoms showed greatest improvement, suggesting that motor symptom ratings may help identify patients who are most likely to benefit from tDCS. Dorsolateral prefrontal tDCS appears well tolerated in HD and enhances WM span compared to sham stimulation. Our findings strongly encourage further investigation of the extent to which tDCS combined with cognitive training could enhance everyday function in HD. ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT02216474 Brain stimulation in Movement Disorders; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02216474. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. A single dose of hypnotic corrects sleep and EEG abnormalities in symptomatic Huntington's disease mice.

    PubMed

    Kantor, Sandor; Varga, Janos; Morton, A Jennifer

    2016-06-01

    Sleep and electroencephalogram abnormalities are prominent early features of Huntington's disease (HD) that typically appear before the onset of characteristic motor symptoms. The changes in sleep and electroencephalogram seen in HD patients are largely recapitulated in mouse models of HD such as transgenic R6/2 lines. To test whether or not drugs with hypnotic properties can correct the sleep and electroencephalogram abnormalities seen in HD mice, we treated male wild-type (WT; N = 7) and R6/2 mice (N = 9) acutely with intraperitoneal injections of vehicle, zolpidem (5, 10 or 20 mg/kg) or amitriptyline (5, 10 or 20 mg/kg), and then monitored their sleep-wake behavior. In R6/2 mice, both zolpidem and amitriptyline suppressed the abnormally high REM sleep amount and electroencephalographic gamma (30-46 Hz) oscillations in a dose-dependent manner. Amitriptyline's effect on sleep was similar in both genotypes, whereas zolpidem showed significant genotype differences. Zolpidem exerted a strong hypnotic effect in WT mice by increasing electroencephalographic delta power, doubling the mean bout duration and the total amount of non-rapid eye movement sleep. However, no such effect was seen in R6/2 mice. Our study demonstrates that the pathophysiological changes seen in sleep and electroencephalogram are not 'hard-wired' in HD brain and can be reversed even at late stages of the disease. The diminished hypnotic effect of zolpidem suggests that the GABAergic control of sleep-wake states is impaired in HD mice. A better understanding of the neurochemical basis underlying these abnormalities should lead to more effective and rational therapies for HD. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. [Huntington's Disease in Balearic Islands Population-Based Registry of Rare Diseases: Prevalence and Mortality during the Period 2010-2013. Spain].

    PubMed

    Cáffaro Rovira, Mercedes; Salom Castell, M Magdalena

    2017-02-16

    Huntington's disease is a hereditary disease with low prevalence. The low frequency of Huntington's disease leads to its inclusion as one of the pathologies in the Registry of Rare Diseases. The Balearic Islands Population-based Registry of Rare Diseases began in 2010. Previously, there had been no prevalence or mortality data for Huntington's disease in the Balearic Islands. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and mortality of Huntington's disease in the Balearic Islands between 2010 and 2013. The data sources were the Balearic Islands Population-based Registry of Rare Diseases, from which the diagnosed cases were obtained; the Balearic Islands Mortality Register, from which the deceased cases were obtained; the Balearic Islands Health Service, from which the number of Health Cards was obtained; and the National Institute for Statistics, from which population data were obtained. Prevalence and mortality rates were calculated. The Balearic Islands Population-based Registry of Rare Diseases registered 27 cases of Huntington's disease between 2010-2013. 63% of these were women. The period prevalence rate was 2.6 per 100,000 and the period mortality rate was 1.1 per 100,000. Menorca was the island with the highest rates, the prevalence rate was 5,9 per 100,000 and the mortality rate was 2,1 per 100,000. Prevalence and mortality of Huntington's disease in the Balearic Islands are low compared to similar areas.

  2. Polysomnographic Findings and Clinical Correlates in Huntington Disease: A Cross-Sectional Cohort Study

    PubMed Central

    Piano, Carla; Losurdo, Anna; Della Marca, Giacomo; Solito, Marcella; Calandra-Buonaura, Giovanna; Provini, Federica; Bentivoglio, Anna Rita; Cortelli, Pietro

    2015-01-01

    Study Objectives: To evaluate the sleep pattern and the motor activity during sleep in a cohort of patients affected by Huntington disease (HD). Design: Cross-sectional cohort study. Setting: Sleep laboratory. Patients: Thirty HD patients, 16 women and 14 men (mean age 57.3 ± 12.2 y); 30 matched healthy controls (mean age 56.5 ± 11.8 y). Interventions: Subjective sleep evaluation: Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS); Berlin's Questionnaire, interview for restless legs syndrome (RLS), questionnaire for REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Clinical evaluation: disease duration, clinical severity (unified Huntington disease motor rating scale [UHDMRS]), genetic tests. Laboratory-based full-night attended video-polysomnography (V-PSG). Measurements and Results: The duration of the disease was 9.4 ± 4.4 y, UHMDRS score was 55.5 ± 23.4, CAG repeats were 44.3 ± 4.1. Body mass index was 21.9 ± 4.0 kg/m2. No patients or caregivers reported poor sleep quality. Two patients reported symptoms of RLS. Eight patients had an ESS score ≥ 9. Eight patients had high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. At the RBD questionnaire, two patients had a pathological score. HD patients, compared to controls, showed shorter sleep, reduced sleep efficiency index, and increased arousals and awakenings. Four patients presented with sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Periodic limb movements (PLMs) during wake and sleep were observed in all patients. No episode of RBD was observed in the V-PSG recordings, and no patients showed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep without atonia. The disease duration correlated with ESS score (P < 0.02). UHMDRS correlated positively with the ESS score (P < 0.005), and negatively with the percentage of REM sleep. Conclusions: Patients with Huntington disease showed a severe sleep disruption and a high prevalence of periodic limb movements, but no evidence of sleep disordered breathing or REM sleep behavior disorder. Citation: Piano C, Losurdo A, Della Marca G, Solito M

  3. A Classification System to Guide Physical Therapy Management in Huntington Disease: A Case Series.

    PubMed

    Fritz, Nora E; Busse, Monica; Jones, Karen; Khalil, Hanan; Quinn, Lori

    2017-07-01

    Individuals with Huntington disease (HD), a rare neurological disease, experience impairments in mobility and cognition throughout their disease course. The Medical Research Council framework provides a schema that can be applied to the development and evaluation of complex interventions, such as those provided by physical therapists. Treatment-based classifications, based on expert consensus and available literature, are helpful in guiding physical therapy management across the stages of HD. Such classifications also contribute to the development and further evaluation of well-defined complex interventions in this highly variable and complex neurodegenerative disease. The purpose of this case series was to illustrate the use of these classifications in the management of 2 individuals with late-stage HD. Two females, 40 and 55 years of age, with late-stage HD participated in this case series. Both experienced progressive declines in ambulatory function and balance as well as falls or fear of falling. Both individuals received daily care in the home for activities of daily living. Physical therapy Treatment-Based Classifications for HD guided the interventions and outcomes. Eight weeks of in-home balance training, strength training, task-specific practice of functional activities including transfers and walking tasks, and family/carer education were provided. Both individuals demonstrated improvements that met or exceeded the established minimal detectible change values for gait speed and Timed Up and Go performance. Both also demonstrated improvements on Berg Balance Scale and Physical Performance Test performance, with 1 of the 2 individuals exceeding the established minimal detectible changes for both tests. Reductions in fall risk were evident in both cases. These cases provide proof-of-principle to support use of treatment-based classifications for physical therapy management in individuals with HD. Traditional classification of early-, mid-, and late

  4. An Item Response Analysis of the Motor and Behavioral Subscales of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale in Huntington Disease Gene Expansion Carriers

    PubMed Central

    Vaccarino, Anthony L.; Anderson, Karen; Borowsky, Beth; Duff, Kevin; Giuliano, Joseph; Guttman, Mark; Ho, Aileen K.; Orth, Michael; Paulsen, Jane S.; Sills, Terrence; van Kammen, Daniel P.; Evans, Kenneth R.

    2011-01-01

    Although the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) is widely used in the assessment of Huntington disease (HD), the ability of individual items to discriminate individual differences in motor or behavioral manifestations has not been extensively studied in HD gene expansion carriers without a motor-defined clinical diagnosis (i.e., prodromal-HD or prHD). To elucidate the relationship between scores on individual motor and behavioral UHDRS items and total score for each subscale, a non-parametric item response analysis was performed on retrospective data from two multicentre, longitudinal studies. Motor and Behavioral assessments were supplied for 737 prHD individuals with data from 2114 visits (PREDICT-HD) and 686 HD individuals with data from 1482 visits (REGISTRY). Option characteristic curves were generated for UHDRS subscale items in relation to their subscale score. In prHD, overall severity of motor signs was low and participants had scores of 2 or above on very few items. In HD, motor items that assessed ocular pursuit, saccade initiation, finger tapping, tandem walking, and to a lesser extent saccade velocity, dysarthia, tongue protrusion, pronation/supination, Luria, bradykinesia, choreas, gait and balance on the retropulsion test were found to discriminate individual differences across a broad range of motor severity. In prHD, depressed mood, anxiety, and irritable behavior demonstrated good discriminative properties. In HD, depressed mood demonstrated a good relationship with the overall behavioral score. These data suggest that at least some UHDRS items appear to have utility across a broad range of severity, although many items demonstrate problematic features. PMID:21370269

  5. An item response analysis of the motor and behavioral subscales of the unified Huntington's disease rating scale in huntington disease gene expansion carriers.

    PubMed

    Vaccarino, Anthony L; Anderson, Karen; Borowsky, Beth; Duff, Kevin; Giuliano, Joseph; Guttman, Mark; Ho, Aileen K; Orth, Michael; Paulsen, Jane S; Sills, Terrence; van Kammen, Daniel P; Evans, Kenneth R

    2011-04-01

    Although the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) is widely used in the assessment of Huntington disease (HD), the ability of individual items to discriminate individual differences in motor or behavioral manifestations has not been extensively studied in HD gene expansion carriers without a motor-defined clinical diagnosis (ie, prodromal-HD or prHD). To elucidate the relationship between scores on individual motor and behavioral UHDRS items and total score for each subscale, a nonparametric item response analysis was performed on retrospective data from 2 multicenter longitudinal studies. Motor and behavioral assessments were supplied for 737 prHD individuals with data from 2114 visits (PREDICT-HD) and 686 HD individuals with data from 1482 visits (REGISTRY). Option characteristic curves were generated for UHDRS subscale items in relation to their subscale score. In prHD, overall severity of motor signs was low, and participants had scores of 2 or above on very few items. In HD, motor items that assessed ocular pursuit, saccade initiation, finger tapping, tandem walking, and to a lesser extent, saccade velocity, dysarthria, tongue protrusion, pronation/supination, Luria, bradykinesia, choreas, gait, and balance on the retropulsion test were found to discriminate individual differences across a broad range of motor severity. In prHD, depressed mood, anxiety, and irritable behavior demonstrated good discriminative properties. In HD, depressed mood demonstrated a good relationship with the overall behavioral score. These data suggest that at least some UHDRS items appear to have utility across a broad range of severity, although many items demonstrate problematic features. Copyright © 2011 Movement Disorder Society.

  6. Ethological endophenotypes are altered by elevated stress hormone levels in both Huntington's disease and wildtype mice.

    PubMed

    Mo, Christina; Renoir, Thibault; Hannan, Anthony J

    2014-11-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant, neurodegenerative disorder with cognitive, psychiatric, motor, neuroendocrine and peripheral dysfunctions. Symptom onset and progression can be closely modeled in HD transgenic mice, which facilitate the search for therapeutics and environmental modulators. In the first investigation of chronic stress in HD, we have previously shown that administering a moderate dose of the stress hormone, corticosterone (CORT) had no effect on short-term memory in wildtype (WT) mice but accelerated the onset of the impairment in male R6/1 HD mice. We now extend this investigation to ethological dysfunctions in HD, which we hypothesized to be more susceptible to CORT treatment compared to the same functions in WT littermates. Both genotypes consumed similar doses of CORT dissolved in drinking water across 6-14 weeks of age and were assessed for olfactory sensitivity, nest-building, saccharin preference as well as vocal responses to sociosexual stimuli. In female HD and WT mice, olfactory sensitivity and saccharin preference were reduced by 2 and 4 weeks of CORT, respectively. In males, there was no effect of CORT on saccharin preference, however the number of vocalizations to a female mouse was transiently increased by CORT-drinking, regardless of genotype. Nest-building was severely impaired in HD mice at an early age, but was unaffected by CORT. Our results suggest that the presence of the HD mutation had no bearing on CORT-induced effects at this dose, suggesting that even moderately elevated stress hormone levels can impair ethological behaviors in both the HD and healthy brain. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Evaluating cognition in individuals with Huntington disease: Neuro-QoL cognitive functioning measures.

    PubMed

    Lai, Jin-Shei; Goodnight, Siera; Downing, Nancy R; Ready, Rebecca E; Paulsen, Jane S; Kratz, Anna L; Stout, Julie C; McCormack, Michael K; Cella, David; Ross, Christopher; Russell, Jenna; Carlozzi, Noelle E

    2018-03-01

    Cognitive functioning impacts health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for individuals with Huntington disease (HD). The Neuro-QoL includes two patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures of cognition-Executive Function (EF) and General Concerns (GC). These measures have not previously been validated for use in HD. The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Neuro-QoL Cognitive Function measures for use in HD. Five hundred ten individuals with prodromal or manifest HD completed the Neuro-QoL Cognition measures, two other PRO measures of HRQOL (WHODAS 2.0 and EQ5D), and a depression measure (PROMIS Depression). Measures of functioning The Total Functional Capacity and behavior (Problem Behaviors Assessment) were completed by clinician interview. Objective measures of cognition were obtained using clinician-administered Symbol Digit Modalities Test and the Stroop Test (Word, Color, and Interference). Self-rated, clinician-rated, and objective composite scores were developed. We examined the Neuro-QoL measures for reliability, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and known-groups validity. Excellent reliabilities (Cronbach's alphas ≥ 0.94) were found. Convergent validity was supported, with strong relationships between self-reported measures of cognition. Discriminant validity was supported by less robust correlations between self-reported cognition and other constructs. Prodromal participants reported fewer cognitive problems than manifest groups, and early-stage HD participants reported fewer problems than late-stage HD participants. The Neuro-QoL Cognition measures provide reliable and valid assessments of self-reported cognitive functioning for individuals with HD. Findings support the utility of these measures for assessing self-reported cognition.

  8. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of working memory in Huntington's disease: cross-sectional data from the IMAGE-HD study.

    PubMed

    Georgiou-Karistianis, Nellie; Stout, Julie C; Domínguez D, Juan F; Carron, Sarah P; Ando, Ayaka; Churchyard, Andrew; Chua, Phyllis; Bohanna, India; Dymowski, Alicia R; Poudel, Govinda; Egan, Gary F

    2014-05-01

    We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate spatial working memory (WM) in an N-BACK task (0, 1, and 2-BACK) in premanifest Huntington's disease (pre-HD, n = 35), early symptomatic Huntington's disease (symp-HD, n = 23), and control (n = 32) individuals. Overall, both WM conditions (1-BACK and 2-BACK) activated a large network of regions throughout the brain, common to all groups. However, voxel-wise and time-course analyses revealed significant functional group differences, despite no significant behavioral performance differences. During 1-BACK, voxel-wise blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal activity was significantly reduced in a number of regions from the WM network (inferior frontal gyrus, anterior insula, caudate, putamen, and cerebellum) in pre-HD and symp-HD groups, compared with controls; however, time-course analysis of the BOLD response in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) showed increased activation in symp-HD, compared with pre-HD and controls. The pattern of reduced voxel-wise BOLD activity in pre-HD and symp-HD, relative to controls, became more pervasive during 2-BACK affecting the same structures as in 1-BACK, but also incorporated further WM regions (anterior cingulate gyrus, parietal lobe and thalamus). The DLPFC BOLD time-course for 2-BACK showed a reversed pattern to that observed in 1-BACK, with a significantly diminished signal in symp-HD, relative to pre-HD and controls. Our findings provide support for functional brain reorganisation in cortical and subcortical regions in both pre-HD and symp-HD, which are modulated by task difficulty. Moreover, the lack of a robust striatal BOLD signal in pre-HD may represent a very early signature of change observed up to 15 years prior to clinical diagnosis. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase as a Potential Therapeutic Target in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Mazarei, Gelareh; Leavitt, Blair R

    2015-01-01

    Within the past decade, there has been increasing interest in the role of tryptophan (Trp) metabolites and the kynurenine pathway (KP) in diseases of the brain such as Huntington's disease (HD). Evidence is accumulating to suggest that this pathway is imbalanced in neurologic disease states. The KP diverges into two branches that can lead to production of either neuroprotective or neurotoxic metabolites. In one branch, kynurenine (Kyn) produced as a result of tryptophan (Trp) catabolism is further metabolized to neurotoxic metabolites such as 3-hydroxykunurenine (3-HK) and quinolinic acid (QA). In the other branch, Kyn is converted to the neuroprotective metabolite kynurenic acid (KA). The enzyme Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO1) catalyzes the conversion of Trp into Kyn, the first and rate-limiting enzymatic step of the KP. This reaction takes place throughout the body in multiple cell types as a required step in the degradation of the essential amino acid Trp. Studies of IDO1 in brain have focused primarily on a potential role in depression, immune tolerance associated with brain tumours, and multiple sclerosis; however the role of this enzyme in neurodegenerative disease has garnered significant attention in recent years. This review will provide a summary of the current understanding of the role of IDO1 in Huntington's disease and will assess this enzyme as a potential therapeutic target for HD.

  10. Progressive loss of BDNF in a mouse model of Huntington's disease and rescue by BDNF delivery.

    PubMed

    Zuccato, Chiara; Liber, Daniel; Ramos, Catarina; Tarditi, Alessia; Rigamonti, Dorotea; Tartari, Marzia; Valenza, Marta; Cattaneo, Elena

    2005-08-01

    Huntingtin is a protein of 348 kDa that is mutated in Huntington's disease (HD), a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Previous data have led us to propose that aspects of the disease arise from both a loss of the neuroprotective function of the wild-type protein, and a toxic activity gained by the mutant protein. In particular, we have shown that wild-type huntingtin stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a pro-survival factor for the striatal neurons that die in the pathology. Wild-type huntingtin controls BDNF gene transcription in cerebral cortex, which is then delivered to its striatal targets. In the disease state, supply of cortical BDNF to the striatum is strongly reduced, possibly leading to striatal vulnerability. Here we show that a reduction in cortical BDNF messenger level correlates with the progression of the disease in a mouse model of HD. In particular, we show that the progressive loss of mRNAs transcribed from BDNF exon II, III and IV follows a different pattern that may reflect different upstream mechanisms impaired by mutation in huntingtin. On this basis, we also discuss the possibility that delivery of BDNF may represent an useful strategy for Huntington's disease treatment.

  11. Multivariate prediction of motor diagnosis in Huntington's disease: 12 years of PREDICT‐HD

    PubMed Central

    Long, Jeffrey D.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background It is well known in Huntington's disease that cytosine‐adenine‐guanine expansion and age at study entry are predictive of the timing of motor diagnosis. The goal of this study was to assess whether additional motor, imaging, cognitive, functional, psychiatric, and demographic variables measured at study entry increased the ability to predict the risk of motor diagnosis over 12 years. Methods One thousand seventy‐eight Huntington's disease gene–expanded carriers (64% female) from the Neurobiological Predictors of Huntington's Disease study were followed up for up to 12 y (mean = 5, standard deviation = 3.3) covering 2002 to 2014. No one had a motor diagnosis at study entry, but 225 (21%) carriers prospectively received a motor diagnosis. Analysis was performed with random survival forests, which is a machine learning method for right‐censored data. Results Adding 34 variables along with cytosine‐adenine‐guanine and age substantially increased predictive accuracy relative to cytosine‐adenine‐guanine and age alone. Adding six of the common motor and cognitive variables (total motor score, diagnostic confidence level, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, three Stroop tests) resulted in lower predictive accuracy than the full set, but still had twice the 5‐y predictive accuracy than when using cytosine‐adenine‐guanine and age alone. Additional analysis suggested interactions and nonlinear effects that were characterized in a post hoc Cox regression model. Conclusions Measurement of clinical variables can substantially increase the accuracy of predicting motor diagnosis over and above cytosine‐adenine‐guanine and age (and their interaction). Estimated probabilities can be used to characterize progression level and aid in future studies' sample selection. © 2015 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society PMID:26340420

  12. Multivariate prediction of motor diagnosis in Huntington's disease: 12 years of PREDICT-HD.

    PubMed

    Long, Jeffrey D; Paulsen, Jane S

    2015-10-01

    It is well known in Huntington's disease that cytosine-adenine-guanine expansion and age at study entry are predictive of the timing of motor diagnosis. The goal of this study was to assess whether additional motor, imaging, cognitive, functional, psychiatric, and demographic variables measured at study entry increased the ability to predict the risk of motor diagnosis over 12 years. One thousand seventy-eight Huntington's disease gene-expanded carriers (64% female) from the Neurobiological Predictors of Huntington's Disease study were followed up for up to 12 y (mean = 5, standard deviation = 3.3) covering 2002 to 2014. No one had a motor diagnosis at study entry, but 225 (21%) carriers prospectively received a motor diagnosis. Analysis was performed with random survival forests, which is a machine learning method for right-censored data. Adding 34 variables along with cytosine-adenine-guanine and age substantially increased predictive accuracy relative to cytosine-adenine-guanine and age alone. Adding six of the common motor and cognitive variables (total motor score, diagnostic confidence level, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, three Stroop tests) resulted in lower predictive accuracy than the full set, but still had twice the 5-y predictive accuracy than when using cytosine-adenine-guanine and age alone. Additional analysis suggested interactions and nonlinear effects that were characterized in a post hoc Cox regression model. Measurement of clinical variables can substantially increase the accuracy of predicting motor diagnosis over and above cytosine-adenine-guanine and age (and their interaction). Estimated probabilities can be used to characterize progression level and aid in future studies' sample selection. © 2015 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

  13. A polymorphic DNA marker that represents a conserved expressed sequence in the region of the Huntington disease gene.

    PubMed Central

    Hayden, M R; Hewitt, J; Wasmuth, J J; Kastelein, J J; Langlois, S; Conneally, M; Haines, J; Smith, B; Hilbert, C; Allard, D

    1988-01-01

    A polymorphic marker (D4S62) that is genetically closely linked to D4S10 and is in the region of the gene for Huntington disease is described. A four-allele polymorphism is detected when HincII-digested DNA is hybridized with D4S62. D4S62 maps, by Southern blot analysis using somatic-cell hybrids, to 4p16.1 closer to the centromere than does D4S10. The use of the polymorphisms detected by D4S62 increases the informativeness of markers close to the gene for Huntington disease and will be useful for preclinical diagnosis. D4S62 detects transcripts of approximately 6,000 nucleotides in rat, mouse, and monkey liver and brain. This represents the first demonstration of conserved expressed sequences close to the gene for Huntington disease. Images Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 6 PMID:2892395

  14. Assessing and Modulating Kynurenine Pathway Dynamics in Huntington's Disease: Focus on Kynurenine 3-Monooxygenase.

    PubMed

    Sathyasaikumar, Korrapati V; Breda, Carlo; Schwarcz, Robert; Giorgini, Flaviano

    2018-01-01

    The link between disturbances in kynurenine pathway (KP) metabolism and Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis has been explored for a number of years. Several novel genetic and pharmacological tools have recently been developed to modulate key regulatory steps in the KP such as the reaction catalyzed by the enzyme kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO). This insight has offered new options for exploring the mechanistic link between this metabolic pathway and HD, and provided novel opportunities for the development of candidate drug-like compounds. Here, we present an overview of the field, focusing on some novel approaches for interrogating the pathway experimentally.

  15. Induced neural stem cells as a means of treatment in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Choi, Kyung-Ah; Hong, Sunghoi

    2017-11-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease characterized by chorea, dementia, and depression caused by progressive nerve cell degeneration, which is triggered by expanded CAG repeats in the huntingtin (Htt) gene. Currently, there is no cure for this disease, nor is there an effective medicine available to delay or improve the physical, mental, and behavioral severities caused by it. Areas covered: In this review, the authors describe the use of induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) by direct conversion technology, which offers great advantages as a therapeutic cell type to treat HD. Expert opinion: Cell conversion of somatic cells into a desired stem cell type is one of the most promising treatments for HD because it could be facilitated for the generation of patient-specific neural stem cells. The induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have a powerful potential for differentiation into neurons, but they may cause teratoma formation due to an undifferentiated pluripotent stem cell after transplantation Therefore, direct conversion of somatic cells into iNSCs is a promising alternative technology in regenerative medicine and the iNSCs may be provided as a therapeutic cell source for Huntington's disease.

  16. Overlap between age-at-onset and disease-progression determinants in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Aziz, N Ahmad; van der Burg, Jorien M M; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Landwehrmeyer, G Bernhard

    2018-05-09

    A fundamental but still unresolved issue regarding Huntington disease (HD) pathogenesis is whether the factors that determine age at onset are the same as those that govern disease progression. Because elucidation of this issue is crucial for the development as well as optimal timing of administration of novel disease-modifying therapies, we aimed to assess the extent of overlap between age-at-onset and disease-progression determinants in HD. Using observational data from Enroll-HD, the largest cohort of patients with HD worldwide, in this study we present, validate, and apply an intuitive method based on linear mixed-effect models to quantify the variability in the rate of disease progression in HD. A total of 3,411 patients with HD met inclusion criteria. We found that (1) about two-thirds of the rate of functional, motor, and cognitive progression in HD is determined by the same factors that also determine age at onset, with CAG repeat-dependent mechanisms having by far the largest effect; (2) although expanded HTT CAG repeat size had a large influence on average body weight, the rate of weight loss was largely independent of factors that determine age at onset in HD; and (3) about one-third of the factors that determine the rate of functional, motor, and cognitive progression are different from those that govern age at onset and need further elucidation. Our findings imply that targeting of CAG repeat-dependent mechanisms, for example through gene-silencing approaches, is likely to affect the rate of functional, motor, and cognitive impairment, but not weight loss, in manifest HD mutation carriers. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.

  17. Relationship of Mediterranean diet and caloric intake to phenoconversion in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Marder, Karen; Gu, Yian; Eberly, Shirley; Tanner, Caroline M; Scarmeas, Nikolaos; Oakes, David; Shoulson, Ira

    2013-11-01

    Adherence to Mediterranean-type diet (MeDi) may delay onset of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Whether adherence to MeDi affects time to phenoconversion in Huntington disease (HD), a highly penetrant, single-gene disorder, is unknown. To determine if MeDi modifies the time to clinical onset of HD (phenoconversion) in premanifest carriers participating in Prospective Huntington at Risk Observational Study (PHAROS), and to examine the effects of body mass index and caloric intake on time to phenoconversion. A prospective cohort study of 41 Huntington study group sites in the United States and Canada involving 1001 participants enrolled in PHAROS between July 1999 and January 2004 who were followed up every 9 months until 2010. A total of 211 participants aged 26 to 57 years had an expanded CAG repeat length (≥ 37). A semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was administered 33 months after baseline. We calculated daily gram intake for dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids, and alcohol and constructed MeDi scores (0-9); higher scores indicate higher adherence. Demographics, medical history, body mass index, and Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) score were collected. Cox proportional hazards regression models to determine the association of MeDi and phenoconversion. RESULTS Age, sex, caloric intake, education status, and UHDRS motor scores did not differ among MeDi tertiles (0-3, 4-5, and 6-9). The highest body mass index was associated with the lowest adherence to MeDi. Thirty-one participants phenoconverted. In a model adjusted for age, CAG repeat length, and caloric intake, MeDi was not associated with phenoconversion (P for trend = 0.14 for tertile of MeDi, and P = .22 for continuous MeDi). When individual components of MeDi were analyzed, higher dairy consumption (hazard ratio, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.0-5.57; P = .05) and higher caloric intake (P = .04) were associated with risk of

  18. Alterations in L-Glutamate Binding in Alzheimer's and Huntington's Diseases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenamyre, J. Timothy; Penney, John B.; Young, Anne B.; D'Amato, Constance J.; Hicks, Samuel P.; Shoulson, Ira

    1985-03-01

    Brain sections from patients who had died with senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT), Huntington's disease (HD), or no neurologic disease were studied by autoradiography to measure sodium-independent L-[3H]glutamate binding. In brain sections from SDAT patients, glutamate binding was normal in the caudate, putamen, and claustrum but was lower than normal in the cortex. The decreased cortical binding represented a reduction in numbers of binding sites, not a change in binding affinity, and appeared to be the result of a specific decrease in numbers of the low-affinity quisqualate binding site. No significant changes in cortical binding of other ligands were observed. In brains from Huntington's disease patients, glutamate binding was lower in the caudate and putamen than in the same regions of brains from control and SDAT patients but was normal in the cortex. It is possible that development of positron-emitting probes for glutamate receptors may permit diagnosis of SDAT in vivo by means of positron emission tomographic scanning.

  19. Motor onset and diagnosis in Huntington disease using the diagnostic confidence level.

    PubMed

    Liu, Dawei; Long, Jeffrey D; Zhang, Ying; Raymond, Lynn A; Marder, Karen; Rosser, Anne; McCusker, Elizabeth A; Mills, James A; Paulsen, Jane S

    2015-12-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor dysfunction, cognitive deterioration, and psychiatric symptoms, with progressive motor impairments being a prominent feature. The primary objectives of this study are to delineate the disease course of motor function in HD, to provide estimates of the onset of motor impairments and motor diagnosis, and to examine the effects of genetic and demographic variables on the progression of motor impairments. Data from an international multisite, longitudinal observational study of 905 prodromal HD participants with cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeats of at least 36 and with at least two visits during the followup period from 2001 to 2012 was examined for changes in the diagnostic confidence level from the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale. HD progression from unimpaired to impaired motor function, as well as the progression from motor impairment to diagnosis, was associated with the linear effect of age and CAG repeat length. Specifically, for every 1-year increase in age, the risk of transition in diagnostic confidence level increased by 11% (95% CI 7-15%) and for one repeat length increase in CAG, the risk of transition in diagnostic confidence level increased by 47% (95% CI 27-69%). Findings show that CAG repeat length and age increased the likelihood of the first onset of motor impairment as well as the age at diagnosis. Results suggest that more accurate estimates of HD onset age can be obtained by incorporating the current status of diagnostic confidence level into predictive models.

  20. Electronic Transport in Single-Stranded DNA Molecule Related to Huntington's Disease

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarmento, R. G.; Silva, R. N. O.; Madeira, M. P.; Frazão, N. F.; Sousa, J. O.; Macedo-Filho, A.

    2018-04-01

    We report a numerical analysis of the electronic transport in single chain DNA molecule consisting of 182 nucleotides. The DNA chains studied were extracted from a segment of the human chromosome 4p16.3, which were modified by expansion of CAG (cytosine-adenine-guanine) triplet repeats to mimics Huntington's disease. The mutated DNA chains were connected between two platinum electrodes to analyze the relationship between charge propagation in the molecule and Huntington's disease. The computations were performed within a tight-binding model, together with a transfer matrix technique, to investigate the current-voltage (I-V) of 23 types of DNA sequence and compare them with the distributions of the related CAG repeat numbers with the disease. All DNA sequences studied have a characteristic behavior of a semiconductor. In addition, the results showed a direct correlation between the current-voltage curves and the distributions of the CAG repeat numbers, suggesting possible applications in the development of DNA-based biosensors for molecular diagnostics.

  1. Measurement of psychopathology in Huntington's disease: the critical role of caregivers.

    PubMed

    van Duijn, Erik; Giltay, Erik J; Zitman, Frans G; Roos, Raymund A C; van der Mast, Rose C

    2010-05-01

    Assessment of psychopathology in Huntington's disease (HD) using formal DSM-IV criteria is complex because of comorbid somatic and cognitive disturbances and diminished disease awareness. Using dimensional tests in 152 HD mutation carriers, both the total score of the Problem Behaviors Assessment (PBA) scale and the behavioral section of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS-b) corresponded with presence of DSM-IV diagnoses. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed an area under the curve of 0.87 for the PBA and 0.91 for the UHDRS-b, demonstrating moderate to strong discriminatory power. Using caregiver information, subjects who were too cognitively impaired for composite international diagnostic interview assessment showed similar high PBA and UHDRS-b scores, with both a negative predictive value of 96% and a positive predictive value of 40% and 44%, respectively, for the presence of formal psychiatric disorders, indicating that dimensional rating scales and caregiver information allow for the assessment of psychopathology in advanced-stage HD.

  2. Attachment in families with Huntington's disease. A paradigm in clinical genetics.

    PubMed

    Van der Meer, Lucienne; Timman, Reinier; Trijsburg, Wim; Duisterhof, Marleen; Erdman, Ruud; Van Elderen, Thérèse; Tibben, Aad

    2006-10-01

    Based on the premise that attachment experiences lead to a working model for social relationships throughout life, this study investigates if there is a difference between adult attachment representations in individuals who were brought up by a parent with Huntington's disease (HD), compared to a non-clinical population. Specific events in the parents' disease process, especially those leading to trauma and loss will receive attention. Using the Adult Attachment Interview, adult attachment representations were investigated in 32 unaffected adults at 50% risk for HD who were raised by an affected parent. We found a lower percentage of secure attachment representations, a higher percentage of preoccupied representations, and a higher percentage of unresolved/disorganized representations in our sample, compared to a non-clinical population. A relatively late start of the parent's HD career was associated with a secure adult attachment representation. Death of the HD parent before the child's 18th birthday was associated with an unresolved/disorganized adult attachment representation. Growing up in a family where one of the parents has Huntington's disease appears to affect the offspring's adult attachment representation. This study can be of relevance for genetic counselling, as well as for counselling and intervention in childrearing matters.

  3. Female Sexual Dysfunction in Presymptomatic Mutation Carriers and Patients with Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Kolenc, Matej; Kobal, Jan; Podnar, Simon

    2017-01-01

    Although in Huntington's disease (HD) movement, cognition, and personality are most significantly affected, autonomic dysfunction should not be neglected. In women with HD sexual dysfunction has not been adequately studied yet. To report sexual dysfunction in a systematically studied cohort of female HD patients and compare it with controls of a similar age. In female HD patients and presymptomatic HD mutation carriers, we compared the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire, neurologic assessment using the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) and the Total Functional Capacity (TFC). Of 44 female HD patients and 9 presymptomatic HD mutation carriers, 30 HD patients and 8 HD mutation carriers responded our invitation to complete FFSI questionnaire. Finally, 23 HD women with a partner were compared to 47 controls with a partner. HD patients had more problems with sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction. By contrast, we found no difference in sexual desire and pain. Sexual dysfunction progressed in parallel with the decline in the TFC; severe sexual dysfunction occurred with TFC <7/13. Our study demonstrated a significant impact of HD on female sexual function that progressed with patients' functional decline and impaired patients' quality of life. Sexual dysfunction may be caused by progression of the disease itself, side effects of medication, and comorbidities like depression or dementia.

  4. Modeling protein homopolymeric repeats: possible polyglutamine structural motifs for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Lathrop, R H; Casale, M; Tobias, D J; Marsh, J L; Thompson, L M

    1998-01-01

    We describe a prototype system (Poly-X) for assisting an expert user in modeling protein repeats. Poly-X reduces the large number of degrees of freedom required to specify a protein motif in complete atomic detail. The result is a small number of parameters that are easily understood by, and under the direct control of, a domain expert. The system was applied to the polyglutamine (poly-Q) repeat in the first exon of huntingtin, the gene implicated in Huntington's disease. We present four poly-Q structural motifs: two poly-Q beta-sheet motifs (parallel and antiparallel) that constitute plausible alternatives to a similar previously published poly-Q beta-sheet motif, and two novel poly-Q helix motifs (alpha-helix and pi-helix). To our knowledge, helical forms of polyglutamine have not been proposed before. The motifs suggest that there may be several plausible aggregation structures for the intranuclear inclusion bodies which have been found in diseased neurons, and may help in the effort to understand the structural basis for Huntington's disease.

  5. A clinical study of patients with genetically confirmed Huntington's disease from India.

    PubMed

    Murgod, U A; Saleem, Q; Anand, A; Brahmachari, S K; Jain, S; Muthane, U B

    2001-09-15

    Clinical data across the globe especially in genetic diseases like Huntington's disease (HD) is most helpful when collected using standardized formats. This helps in proper comparison of clinical and genetic data. Herein, we report clinical data on 26 genetically confirmed HD patients from 19 Indian families predominantly from South India. Clinical data and evaluation was performed using standardized formats used by the Huntington Disease Study Group. Adult onset HD was commonest while Juvenile HD (onset <20 years) was observed in approximately 15% of patients. Chorea was the commonest presenting symptom (n=23, 88.5%) while remaining presented with psychiatric symptoms (n=3, 11.5%). Impairment of saccades was observed in approximately 75% of patients. Mean (SD) CAG repeats in the abnormal allele was 48.4 (8.7). Total motor score but not the total behavioral score worsens with duration of symptoms. The functional checklist score correlates with total motor score rather than with duration of symptoms. We detail clinical characteristics in genetically confirmed HD patients from a predominantly South Indian cohort. We observed a slightly higher occurrence of Juvenile HD. Functional disabilities in our patients correlate with worsening of motor rather than behavioral symptoms.

  6. Does arterial hypertension influence the onset of Huntington's disease?

    PubMed Central

    Fullaondo, Asier; Alkorta-Aranburu, Gorka; García-Barcina, María; Roos, Raymund A. C.; Hjermind, Lena E.; Frontali, Marina; Reilmann, Ralf; Rickards, Hugh; Zubiaga, Ana M.; Aguirre, Ana

    2018-01-01

    Huntington’s disease (HD) age of onset (AO) is mainly determined by the length of the CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene. The remaining AO variability has been attributed to other little-known factors. A factor that has been associated with other neurodegenerative diseases is arterial hypertension (AHT). The aim of this study is to evaluate the contribution of AHT to the AO of HD. We used data from a cohort of 630 European HD patients with adult onset collected by the REGISTRY project of the European Huntington’s Disease Network. Multiple linear regression and ANOVA, controlling for the CAG repeat number of the expanded allele (CAGexp) of each patient, were performed to assess the association between the AHT condition and the AO of the motor symptoms (mAO). The results showed a significant association between AHT and mAO, especially when we only considered the patients diagnosed with AHT prior to manifesting any HD signs (pre-HD AHT). Remarkably, despite the low number of cases, those patients developed motor symptoms 5–8 years later than normotensive patients in the most frequent CAGexp range (40–44). AHT is an age-related condition and consequently, the age of the patient at the time of data collection could be a confounder variable. However, given that most pre-HD AHT patients included in our study had started treatment with antihypertensive drugs prior to the onset of HD, and that antihypertensive drugs have been suggested to confer a neuroprotective effect in other neurodegenerative diseases, raises the interest in elucidating the impact of AHT and/or AHT treatment in HD age of onset in further studies. A confirmation of our results in a larger sample set would open the possibility to significantly improve HD management. PMID:29791508

  7. A genetic modifier suggests that endurance exercise exacerbates Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Corrochano, Silvia; Blanco, Gonzalo; Williams, Debbie; Wettstein, Jessica; Simon, Michelle; Kumar, Saumya; Moir, Lee; Agnew, Thomas; Stewart, Michelle; Landman, Allison; Kotiadis, Vassilios N; Duchen, Michael R; Wackerhage, Henning; Rubinsztein, David C; Brown, Steve D M

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Polyglutamine expansions in the huntingtin gene cause Huntington’s disease (HD). Huntingtin is ubiquitously expressed, leading to pathological alterations also in peripheral organs. Variations in the length of the polyglutamine tract explain up to 70% of the age-at-onset variance, with the rest of the variance attributed to genetic and environmental modifiers. To identify novel disease modifiers, we performed an unbiased mutagenesis screen on an HD mouse model, identifying a mutation in the skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel (Scn4a, termed ‘draggen’ mutation) as a novel disease enhancer. Double mutant mice (HD; Scn4aDgn/+) had decreased survival, weight loss and muscle atrophy. Expression patterns show that the main tissue affected is skeletal muscle. Intriguingly, muscles from HD; Scn4aDgn/+ mice showed adaptive changes similar to those found in endurance exercise, including AMPK activation, fibre type switching and upregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of endurance training on HD mice. Crucially, this training regime also led to detrimental effects on HD mice. Overall, these results reveal a novel role for skeletal muscle in modulating systemic HD pathogenesis, suggesting that some forms of physical exercise could be deleterious in neurodegeneration. PMID:29509900

  8. Huntington disease in subjects from an Israeli Karaite community carrying alleles of intermediate and expanded CAG repeats in the HTT gene: Huntington disease or phenocopy?

    PubMed

    Herishanu, Yuval O; Parvari, Ruti; Pollack, Yaakov; Shelef, Ilan; Marom, Batia; Martino, Tiziana; Cannella, Milena; Squitieri, Ferdinando

    2009-02-15

    We report a cluster of patients from a Karaite Jew community with a movement disorder suggestive of Huntington disease (HD), in some cases associated with repeat lengths below the edge of 36 CAG repeats. The study describes the clinical and genetic features of four patients who were followed over several years. Patients belonged to an inbred family in whom progressive chorea, manifesting predominantly with dystonia and cerebellar features, developed during middle age. Although severe psychiatric symptoms ultimately developed in two of the four patients, cognitive function remained reasonably well preserved in all of them even after several disease years. Moderate cognitive deficits were limited to the visuomotor organization and abstract thinking subtests in three of the four patients. Qualitative brain imaging showed atrophy of brain predominantly involving cortex and cerebellum. Genetic testing revealed a variable mutation penetrance among family members, some affected members showing an upper allele size ranging from 34 to 49, whereas others remained unaffected despite the presence of the full mutation beyond 40 CAG repeats. Co-morbidity with recessive hereditary inclusion body myopathy was found in two subjects from one family. Although the main diagnosis of HD remains to be confirmed by further neuropathological studies, these cases may suggest that HD could manifest with as few as 34 CAG repeats, in some geographic areas, the disease phenotype most probably being influenced by additional, as yet unidentified, genes.

  9. Transplantation of induced pluripotent stem cells improves functional recovery in Huntington's disease rat model.

    PubMed

    Mu, Shuhua; Wang, Jiachuan; Zhou, Guangqian; Peng, Wenda; He, Zhendan; Zhao, Zhenfu; Mo, CuiPing; Qu, Junle; Zhang, Jian

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the functional recovery of the transplanted induced pluripotent stem cells in a rat model of Huntington's disease with use of 18F-FDG microPET/CT imaging. In a quinolinic acid-induced rat model of striatal degeneration, induced pluripotent stem cells were transplanted into the ipsilateral lateral ventricle ten days after the quinolinic acid injection. The response to the treatment was evaluated by serial 18F-FDG PET/CT scans and Morris water maze test. Histological analyses and Western blotting were performed six weeks after stem cell transplantation. After induced pluripotent stem cells transplantation, higher 18F-FDG accumulation in the injured striatum was observed during the 4 to 6-weeks period compared with the quinolinic acid-injected group, suggesting the metabolic recovery of injured striatum. The induced pluripotent stem cells transplantation improved learning and memory function (and striatal atrophy) of the rat in six week in the comparison with the quinolinic acid-treated controls. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that transplanted stem cells survived and migrated into the lesioned area in striatum, and most of the stem cells expressed protein markers of neurons and glial cells. Our findings show that induced pluripotent stem cells can survive, differentiate to functional neurons and improve partial striatal function and metabolism after implantation in a rat Huntington's disease model.

  10. Trehalose Reverses Cell Malfunction in Fibroblasts from Normal and Huntington's Disease Patients Caused by Proteosome Inhibition

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez-Estevez, Maria Angeles; Casarejos, Maria Jose; López Sendon, Jose; Garcia Caldentey, Juan; Ruiz, Carolina; Gomez, Ana; Perucho, Juan; de Yebenes, Justo García; Mena, Maria Angeles

    2014-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive motor, cognitive and psychiatric deficits, associated with predominant loss of striatal neurons and is caused by polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin protein. Mutant huntingtin protein and its fragments are resistant to protein degradation and produce a blockade of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). In HD models, the proteasome inhibitor epoxomicin aggravates protein accumulation and the inductor of autophagy, trehalose, diminishes it. We have investigated the effects of epoxomicin and trehalose in skin fibroblasts of control and HD patients. Untreated HD fibroblasts have increased the levels of ubiquitinized proteins and higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), huntingtin and the autophagy marker LAMP2A. Baseline replication rates were higher in HD than in controls fibroblasts but that was reverted after 12 passages. Epoxomicin increases the activated caspase-3, HSP70, huntingtin, ubiquitinated proteins and ROS levels in both HD and controls. Treatment with trehalose counteracts the increase in ROS, ubiquitinated proteins, huntingtin and activated caspase-3 levels induced by epoxomicin, and also increases the LC3 levels more in HD fibroblast than controls. These results suggest that trehalose could revert protein processing abnormalities in patients with Huntington's Disease. PMID:24587280

  11. The estimation of selection coefficients in Afrikaners: Huntington disease, porphyria variegata, and lipoid proteinosis.

    PubMed Central

    Stine, O C; Smith, K D

    1990-01-01

    The effects of mutation, migration, random drift, and selection on the change in frequency of the alleles associated with Huntington disease, porphyria variegata, and lipoid proteinosis have been assessed in the Afrikaner population of South Africa. Although admixture cannot be completely discounted, it was possible to exclude migration and new mutation as major sources of changes in the frequency of these alleles by limiting analyses to pedigrees descendant from founding families. Calculations which overestimated the possible effect of random drift demonstrated that drift did not account for the observed changes in gene frequencies. Therefore these changes must have been caused by natural selection, and a coefficient of selection was estimated for each trait. For the rare, dominant, deleterious allele associated with Huntington disease, the coefficient of selection was estimated to be .34, indicating that this allele has a selective disadvantage, contrary to some recent studies. For the presumed dominant and probably deleterious allele associated with porphyria variegata, the coefficient of selection lies between .07 and .02. The coefficient of selection for the rare, clinically recessive allele associated with lipoid proteinosis was estimated to be .07. Calculations based on a model system indicate that the observed decrease in allele frequency cannot be explained solely on the basis of selection against the homozygote. Thus, this may be an example of a pleiotropic gene which has a dominant effect in terms of selection even though its known clinical effect is recessive. PMID:2137963

  12. New primer for specific amplification of the CAG repeat in Huntington disease alleles

    SciT

    Bond, C.E.; Hodes, M.E.

    1994-09-01

    Huntington disease is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat near the 5{prime} end of the gene for Huntington disease (IT15). The CAG repeat is flanked by a variable-length CCG repeat that is included in the amplification product obtained with most currently used primer sets and PCR protocols. Inclusion of this adjacent CCG repeat complicates the accurate assessment of CAG repeat length and interferes with the genotype determination of those individuals carrying alleles in the intermediate range between normal and expanded sized. Due to the GC-rich nature of this region, attempts at designingmore » a protocol for amplification of only the CAG repeat have proved unreliable and difficult to execute. We report here the development of a compatible primer set and PCR protocol that yields consistent amplification of the CAG-repeat region. PCR products can be visualized in ethidium bromide-stained agarose gels for rapid screening or in 6% polyacrylamide gels for determination of exact repeat length. This assay produces bands that can be sized accurately, while eliminating most nonspecific products. Fifty-five specimens examined showed consistency with another well-known method, but one that amplifies the CCG repeats as well. The results we obtained also matched the known carrier status of the donors.« less

  13. The estimation of selection coefficients in Afrikaners: Huntington disease, porphyria variegata, and lipoid proteinosis.

    PubMed

    Stine, O C; Smith, K D

    1990-03-01

    The effects of mutation, migration, random drift, and selection on the change in frequency of the alleles associated with Huntington disease, porphyria variegata, and lipoid proteinosis have been assessed in the Afrikaner population of South Africa. Although admixture cannot be completely discounted, it was possible to exclude migration and new mutation as major sources of changes in the frequency of these alleles by limiting analyses to pedigrees descendant from founding families. Calculations which overestimated the possible effect of random drift demonstrated that drift did not account for the observed changes in gene frequencies. Therefore these changes must have been caused by natural selection, and a coefficient of selection was estimated for each trait. For the rare, dominant, deleterious allele associated with Huntington disease, the coefficient of selection was estimated to be .34, indicating that this allele has a selective disadvantage, contrary to some recent studies. For the presumed dominant and probably deleterious allele associated with porphyria variegata, the coefficient of selection lies between .07 and .02. The coefficient of selection for the rare, clinically recessive allele associated with lipoid proteinosis was estimated to be .07. Calculations based on a model system indicate that the observed decrease in allele frequency cannot be explained solely on the basis of selection against the homozygote. Thus, this may be an example of a pleiotropic gene which has a dominant effect in terms of selection even though its known clinical effect is recessive.

  14. Everyday Functioning in Huntington's Disease: A Laboratory-Based Study of Financial Management Capacity.

    PubMed

    Sheppard, David P; Pirogovsky-Turk, Eva; Woods, Steven Paul; Holden, Heather M; Nicoll, Diane R; Filoteo, J Vincent; Corey-Bloom, Jody; Gilbert, Paul E

    2017-01-01

    One important limitation of prior studies examining functional decline in Huntington's disease (HD) has been the reliance on self-reported measures of ability. Since report-based methods can be biased by lack of insight, depression, and cognitive impairment, contrasting self-reported ability with measures that assess capacity may lead to a more comprehensive estimation of real-world functioning. The present study examined self-reported ability to perform instrumental activities of daily living (iADLs) and performance-based financial management capacity in 20 patients diagnosed with mild-moderate Huntington's disease (HD) and 20 demographically similar healthy adults. HD patients reported significantly greater declines in their ability to manage finances. On the capacity measure of financial management, HD patients performed significantly below healthy adults. Additionally, in the HD group there were no significant correlations between self-reported ability and capacity measures of financial management. HD patients endorsed declines in global iADL ability and exhibited deficits in functional capacity when performing a financial management task. Capacity measures may aid in assessing the extent to which HD patients accurately estimate real-world iADL performance, and the present findings suggest that such measures of capacity may be related to the cognitive, but not motor or affective, symptoms of HD.

  15. Impact of tetrabenazine on gait and functional mobility in individuals with Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Kegelmeyer, Deb A; Kloos, Anne D; Fritz, Nora E; Fiumedora, Marianne M; White, Susan E; Kostyk, Sandra K

    2014-12-15

    Chorea may contribute to balance problems and walking difficulties that lead to higher fall rates in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD). Few studies have examined the effects of tetrabenazine (TBZ), an anti-choreic drug, on function and mobility in HD. The purpose of this study was to compare: 1) gait measures in forward walking, 2) balance and mobility measures, and 3) hand and forearm function measures on and off TBZ. We hypothesized that use of TBZ would improve gait, transfers and hand and forearm function. Eleven individuals with HD on stable doses of TBZ were evaluated while off medication and again following resumption of medication. Significant improvements were found on the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) motor scores, Tinetti Mobility Test (TMT) total (t=4.20, p=0.002) and balance subscale (t=-4.61, p=0.001) scores, and the Five Times Sit-to-Stand test (5TSST, t=3.20, p=.009) when on-TBZ compared to off-TBZ. Spatiotemporal gait measures, the Six Condition Romberg test, and UHDRS hand and forearm function items were not changed by TBZ use. Improved TMT and 5TSST performance when on drug indicates that TBZ use may improve balance and functional mobility in individuals with HD. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. The Role of Reactive Oxygen Species in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Huntington's Disease: A Mini Review

    PubMed Central

    Abiramasundari, Rajagopal Selladurai; Essa, Musthafa Mohamed; Akbar, Mohammed D.

    2016-01-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases affect not only the life quality of aging populations, but also their life spans. All forms of neurodegenerative diseases have a massive impact on the elderly. The major threat of these brain diseases includes progressive loss of memory, Alzheimer's disease (AD), impairments in the movement, Parkinson's disease (PD), and the inability to walk, talk, and think, Huntington's disease (HD). Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are highlighted as a central feature of brain degenerative diseases. Oxidative stress, a condition that occurs due to imbalance in oxidant and antioxidant status, has been known to play a vital role in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases including AD, PD, and HD. A large number of studies have utilized oxidative stress biomarkers to investigate the severity of these neurodegenerative diseases and medications are available, but these only treat the symptoms. In traditional medicine, a large number of medicinal plants have been used to treat the symptoms of these neurodegenerative diseases. Extensive studies scientifically validated the beneficial effect of natural products against neurodegenerative diseases using suitable animal models. This short review focuses the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of AD, PD, and HD and the protective efficacy of natural products against these diseases. PMID:28116038

  17. Emotional face recognition deficits and medication effects in pre-manifest through stage-II Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Labuschagne, Izelle; Jones, Rebecca; Callaghan, Jenny; Whitehead, Daisy; Dumas, Eve M; Say, Miranda J; Hart, Ellen P; Justo, Damian; Coleman, Allison; Dar Santos, Rachelle C; Frost, Chris; Craufurd, David; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Stout, Julie C

    2013-05-15

    Facial emotion recognition impairments have been reported in Huntington's disease (HD). However, the nature of the impairments across the spectrum of HD remains unclear. We report on emotion recognition data from 344 participants comprising premanifest HD (PreHD) and early HD patients, and controls. In a test of recognition of facial emotions, we examined responses to six basic emotional expressions and neutral expressions. In addition, and within the early HD sample, we tested for differences on emotion recognition performance between those 'on' vs. 'off' neuroleptic or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications. The PreHD groups showed significant (p<0.05) impaired recognition, compared to controls, on fearful, angry and surprised faces; whereas the early HD groups were significantly impaired across all emotions including neutral expressions. In early HD, neuroleptic use was associated with worse facial emotion recognition, whereas SSRI use was associated with better facial emotion recognition. The findings suggest that emotion recognition impairments exist across the HD spectrum, but are relatively more widespread in manifest HD than in the premanifest period. Commonly prescribed medications to treat HD-related symptoms also appear to affect emotion recognition. These findings have important implications for interpersonal communication and medication usage in HD. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Therapeutic strategies for circadian rhythm and sleep disturbances in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    van Wamelen, Daniel J; Roos, Raymund Ac; Aziz, Nasir A

    2015-12-01

    Aside from the well-known motor, cognitive and psychiatric signs and symptoms, Huntington disease (HD) is also frequently complicated by circadian rhythm and sleep disturbances. Despite the observation that these disturbances often precede motor onset and have a high prevalence, no studies are available in HD patients which assess potential treatments. In this review, we will briefly outline the nature of circadian rhythm and sleep disturbances in HD and subsequently focus on potential treatments based on findings in other neurodegenerative diseases with similarities to HD, such as Parkinson and Alzheimer disease. The most promising treatment options to date for circadian rhythm and sleep disruption in HD include melatonin (agonists) and bright light therapy, although further corroboration in clinical trials is warranted.

  19. Update on Huntington's disease: advances in care and emerging therapeutic options.

    PubMed

    Zielonka, Daniel; Mielcarek, Michal; Landwehrmeyer, G Bernhard

    2015-03-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is the most common hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. Despite the fact that both the gene and the mutation causing this monogenetic disorder were identified more than 20 years ago, disease-modifying therapies for HD have not yet been established. While intense preclinical research and large cohort studies in HD have laid foundations for tangible improvements in understanding HD and caring for HD patients, identifying targets for therapeutic interventions and developing novel therapeutic modalities (new chemical entities and advanced therapies using DNA and RNA molecules as therapeutic agents) continues to be an ongoing process. The authors review recent achievements in HD research and focus on approaches towards disease-modifying therapies, ranging from huntingtin-lowering strategies to improving huntingtin clearance that may be promoted by posttranslational HTT modifications. The nature and number of upcoming clinical studies/trials in HD is a reason for hope for HD patients and their families. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Mitochondrial Ca2+ handling in Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases - Role of ER-mitochondria crosstalk.

    PubMed

    Naia, Luana; Ferreira, Ildete Luísa; Ferreiro, Elisabete; Rego, A Cristina

    2017-02-19

    Mitochondria play a relevant role in Ca 2+ buffering, governing energy metabolism and neuronal function. Huntington's disease (HD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are two neurodegenerative disorders that, although clinically distinct, share pathological features linked to selective brain damage. These include mitochondrial dysfunction, intracellular Ca 2+ deregulation and mitochondrial Ca 2+ handling deficits. Both diseases are associated with misfolding and aggregation of specific proteins that physically interact with mitochondria and interfere with endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/mitochondria-contact sites. Cumulating evidences indicate that impairment of mitochondrial Ca 2+ homeostasis underlies the susceptibility to selective neuronal death observed in HD and AD; however data obtained with different models and experimental approaches are not always consistent. In this review, we explore the recent literature on deregulation of mitochondrial Ca 2+ handling underlying the interplay between mitochondria and ER in HD and AD-associated neurodegeneration. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. The phasor-FLIM fingerprints reveal shifts from OXPHOS to enhanced glycolysis in Huntington Disease

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sameni, Sara; Syed, Adeela; Marsh, J. Lawrence; Digman, Michelle A.

    2016-10-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of Polyglutamine (polyQ) in exon 1 of the Huntingtin protein. Glutamine repeats below 36 are considered normal while repeats above 40 lead to HD. Impairment in energy metabolism is a common trend in Huntington pathogenesis; however, this effect is not fully understood. Here, we used the phasor approach and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) to measure changes between free and bound fractions of NADH as a indirect measure of metabolic alteration in living cells. Using Phasor-FLIM, pixel maps of metabolic alteration in HEK293 cell lines and in transgenic Drosophila expressing expanded and unexpanded polyQ HTT exon1 in the eye disc were developed. We found a significant shift towards increased free NADH, indicating an increased glycolytic state for cells and tissues expressing the expanded polyQ compared to unexpanded control. In the nucleus, a further lifetime shift occurs towards higher free NADH suggesting a possible synergism between metabolic dysfunction and transcriptional regulation. Our results indicate that metabolic dysfunction in HD shifts to increased glycolysis leading to oxidative stress and cell death. This powerful label free method can be used to screen native HD tissue samples and for potential drug screening.

  2. The phasor-FLIM fingerprints reveal shifts from OXPHOS to enhanced glycolysis in Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Sameni, Sara; Syed, Adeela; Marsh, J. Lawrence; Digman, Michelle A.

    2016-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of Polyglutamine (polyQ) in exon 1 of the Huntingtin protein. Glutamine repeats below 36 are considered normal while repeats above 40 lead to HD. Impairment in energy metabolism is a common trend in Huntington pathogenesis; however, this effect is not fully understood. Here, we used the phasor approach and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) to measure changes between free and bound fractions of NADH as a indirect measure of metabolic alteration in living cells. Using Phasor-FLIM, pixel maps of metabolic alteration in HEK293 cell lines and in transgenic Drosophila expressing expanded and unexpanded polyQ HTT exon1 in the eye disc were developed. We found a significant shift towards increased free NADH, indicating an increased glycolytic state for cells and tissues expressing the expanded polyQ compared to unexpanded control. In the nucleus, a further lifetime shift occurs towards higher free NADH suggesting a possible synergism between metabolic dysfunction and transcriptional regulation. Our results indicate that metabolic dysfunction in HD shifts to increased glycolysis leading to oxidative stress and cell death. This powerful label free method can be used to screen native HD tissue samples and for potential drug screening. PMID:27713486

  3. Evaluating the current state of the art of Huntington disease research: a scientometric analysis

    PubMed Central

    Barboza, L.A.; Ghisi, N.C.

    2018-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder caused by a dominant mutation on the 4th chromosome. We aim to present a scientometric analysis of the extant scientific undertakings devoted to better understanding HD. Therefore, a quantitative study was performed to examine the current state-of-the-art approaches that foster researchers’ understandings of the current knowledge, research trends, and research gaps regarding this disorder. We performed literature searches of articles that were published up to September 2016 in the “ISI Web of Science™” (http://apps.webofknowledge.com/). The keyword used was “Huntington disease”. Of the initial 14,036 articles that were obtained, 7732 were eligible for inclusion in the study according to their relevance. Data were classified according to language, country of publication, year, and area of concentration. The country leader regarding the number of studies published on HD is the United States, accounting for nearly 30% of all publications, followed by England and Germany, who have published 10 and 7% of all publications, respectively. Regarding the language in which the articles were written, 98% of publications were in English. The first publication to be found on HD was published in 1974. A surge of publications on HD can be seen from 1996 onward. In relation to the various knowledge areas that emerged, most publications were in the fields of neuroscience and neurology, likely because HD is a neurodegenerative disorder. Publications written in areas such as psychiatry, genetics, and molecular biology also predominated. PMID:29340519

  4. A PET Study of Word Generation in Huntington's Disease: Effects of Lexical Competition and Verb/Noun Category

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lepron, Evelyne; Peran, Patrice; Cardebat, Dominique; Demonet, Jean-Francois

    2009-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) patients show language production deficits that have been conceptualized as a consequence of executive disorders, e.g. selection deficit between candidate words or switching between word categories. More recently, a deficit of word generation specific to verbs has been reported, which might relate to impaired action…

  5. Applying the WHO ICF Framework to Communication Assessment and Goal Setting in Huntington's Disease: A Case Discussion

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Power, Emma; Anderson, Alison; Togher, Leanne

    2011-01-01

    Purpose: Huntington's Disease (HD) is a fatal, hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by a triad of motor, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that impact on both communicative effectiveness and the treatment techniques used to maximize communicative participation. The purpose of this article is to describe the application of…

  6. Dose-Dependent Lowering of Mutant Huntingtin Using Antisense Oligonucleotides in Huntington Disease Patients.

    PubMed

    van Roon-Mom, Willeke M C; Roos, Raymund A C; de Bot, Susanne T

    2018-04-01

    On December 11 of 2017, Ionis Pharmaceuticals published a press release announcing dose-dependent reductions of mutant huntingtin protein in their HTTRx Phase 1/2a study in Huntington disease (HD) patients. The results from this Ionis trial have gained much attention from the patient community and the oligonucleotide therapeutics field, since it is the first trial targeting the cause of HD, namely the mutant huntingtin protein, using antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). The press release also states that the primary endpoints of the study (safety and tolerability) were met, but does not contain data. This news follows the approval of another therapeutic ASO nusinersen (trade name Spinraza) for a neurological disease, spinal muscular atrophy, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency, in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Combined, this offers hope for the development of the HTTRx therapy for HD patients.

  7. Oxidative Stress and Huntington's Disease: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Amit; Ratan, Rajiv R

    2016-10-01

    Redox homeostasis is crucial for proper cellular functions, including receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, protein folding, and xenobiotic detoxification. Under basal conditions, there is a balance between oxidants and antioxidants. This balance facilitates the ability of oxidants, such as reactive oxygen species, to play critical regulatory functions through a direct modification of a small number of amino acids (e.g. cysteine) on signaling proteins. These signaling functions leverage tight spatial, amplitude, and temporal control of oxidant concentrations. However, when oxidants overwhelm the antioxidant capacity, they lead to a harmful condition of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has long been held to be one of the key players in disease progression for Huntington's disease (HD). In this review, we will critically review this evidence, drawing some intermediate conclusions, and ultimately provide a framework for thinking about the role of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of HD.

  8. Pallidal neuronal discharge in Huntington's disease: support for selective loss of striatal cells originating the indirect pathway.

    PubMed

    Starr, Philip A; Kang, Gail A; Heath, Susan; Shimamoto, Shoichi; Turner, Robert S

    2008-05-01

    Chorea is the predominant motor manifestation in the early symptomatic phase of adult onset Huntington's disease (HD). Pathologically, this stage is marked by differential loss of striatal neurons contributing to the indirect pathway. This pattern of neuronal loss predicts decreased neuronal firing rates in GPi and increased firing rates in GPe, the opposite of the changes in firing rate known to occur in Parkinson's disease (PD). We present single-unit discharge characteristics (33 neurons) observed in an awake patient with HD (41 CAG repeats) undergoing microelectrode guided surgery for pallidal deep brain stimulation. Pallidal single-unit activity at "rest" and during voluntary movement was discriminated off line by principal component analysis and evaluated with respect to discharge rate, bursting, and oscillatory activity in the 0-200 Hz range. 24 GPi and 9 GPe units were studied, and compared with 132 GPi and 50 GPe units from 14 patients with PD. The mean (+/-SEM) spontaneous discharge rate for HD was 58+/-4 for GPi and 73+/-5 for GPe. This contrasted with discharge rates in PD of 95+/-2 for GPi and 57+/-3 for GPe. HD GPi units showed more bursting than PD GPi units but much less oscillatory activity in the 2-35 Hz frequency range at rest. These findings are consistent with selective early loss of striatal cells originating the indirect pathway.

  9. Huntington's Disease

    MedlinePlus

    ... up Meeting Now That You Are Funded Small Business Grants Overview Areas of Interest Budget Information Grant ... up Meeting Now That You Are Funded Small Business Grants Overview Areas of Interest Budget Information Grant ...

  10. Abnormal Weight and Body Mass Index in Children with Juvenile Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Tereshchenko, Alexander; McHugh, Michael; Lee, Jessica K; Gonzalez-Alegre, Pedro; Crane, Kaitlin; Dawson, Jeffrey; Nopoulos, Peg

    2015-01-01

    The hallmark clinical manifestation of Huntington's disease (HD), namely lower weight and BMI has been reported in prodromal HD (PreHD) adults and also in PreHD children. Here, we aim to evaluate anthropometric measures of growth and development (height, weight, body mass index (BMI)) in a group of children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Huntington's Disease (JHD). Growth measures for 18 JHD patients, documented prior to or shortly after diagnosis, were obtained through medical records. JHD growth measures were compared to a large sample (n = 274) of healthy children, as well as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) growth norms. After controlling for sex and age, the JHD subjects had no significant differences in height. However, they were an average of 10% lower than controls in weight and BMI. Using CDC norms, the JHD subjects had the same pattern of normal height but decrement in weight. Length of cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat in the huntingtin gene was significantly correlated to measures of weight with longer CAG repeats being associated with more severe weight reduction. A subset of 4 subjects had measures that pre-dated onset of any symptom and were therefore prodromal JHD (preJHD). These subjects also had a significant decrement in BMI compared to CDC norms. Children with JHD have normal height, but significantly reduced weight and BMI, indicative of a specific deficit in body weight. As the preJHD subjects were also low in BMI, this suggests that these changes are directly due to the effect of the mutated gene on development, rather than symptom manifestation of the disease itself. Potential mechanisms of the weight decrement include energy deficiency due to mitochondrial dysfunction during development.

  11. Immunoreactivity of polyclonal antibodies generated against the carboxy terminus of the predicted amino acid sequence of the Huntington disease gene

    SciT

    Alkatib, G.; Graham, R.; Pelmear-Telenius, A.

    1994-09-01

    A cDNA fragment spanning the 3{prime}-end of the Huntington disease gene (from 8052 to 9252) was cloned into a prokaryotic expression vector containing the E. Coli lac promoter and a portion of the coding sequence for {beta}-galactosidase. The truncated {beta}-galactosidase gene was cleaved with BamHl and fused in frame to the BamHl fragment of the Huntington disease gene 3{prime}-end. Expression analysis of proteins made in E. Coli revealed that 20-30% of the total cellular proteins was represented by the {beta}-galactosidase-huntingtin fusion protein. The identity of the Huntington disease protein amino acid sequences was confirmed by protein sequence analysis. Affinity chromatographymore » was used to purify large quantities of the fusion protein from bacterial cell lysates. Affinity-purified proteins were used to immunize New Zealand white rabbits for antibody production. The generated polyclonal antibodies were used to immunoprecipitate the Huntington disease gene product expressed in a neuroblastoma cell line. In this cell line the antibodies precipitated two protein bands of apparent gel migrations of 200 and 150 kd which together, correspond to the calculated molecular weight of the Huntington disease gene product (350 kd). Immunoblotting experiments revealed the presence of a large precursor protein in the range of 350-750 kd which is in agreement with the predicted molecular weight of the protein without post-translational modifications. These results indicate that the huntingtin protein is cleaved into two subunits in this neuroblastoma cell line and implicate that cleavage of a large precursor protein may contribute to its biological activity. Experiments are ongoing to determine the precursor-product relationship and to examine the synthesis of the huntingtin protein in freshly isolated rat brains, and to determine cellular and subcellular distribution of the gene product.« less

  12. First molecular modeling report on novel arylpyrimidine kynurenine monooxygenase inhibitors through multi-QSAR analysis against Huntington's disease: A proposal to chemists!

    PubMed

    Amin, Sk Abdul; Adhikari, Nilanjan; Jha, Tarun; Gayen, Shovanlal

    2016-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by mutation of huntingtin protein (mHtt) leading to neuronal cell death. The mHtt induced toxicity can be rescued by inhibiting the kynurenine monooxygenase (KMO) enzyme. Therefore, KMO is a promising drug target to address the neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's diseases. Fiftysix arylpyrimidine KMO inhibitors are structurally explored through regression and classification based multi-QSAR modeling, pharmacophore mapping and molecular docking approaches. Moreover, ten new compounds are proposed and validated through the modeling that may be effective in accelerating Huntington's disease drug discovery efforts. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Is There Convincing Evidence that Intermediate Repeats in the HTT Gene Cause Huntington's Disease?

    PubMed

    Oosterloo, Mayke; Van Belzen, Martine J; Bijlsma, Emilia K; Roos, Raymund A C

    2015-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with a CAG repeat expansion in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. A trinucleotide size between 27 and 35 is considered 'intermediate' and not to cause symptoms and signs of HD. There are articles claiming otherwise, however publishing only the cases that have a HD phenotype introduces a significant publication bias. Our objective is to determine if there is convincing evidence that intermediate repeats (IA) cause HD. Previously published case reports on HTT intermediate repeat sizes and all cases from the Netherlands with an IA were reviewed for clinical symptoms and signs. Four patients had a clinical presentation of Huntington's disease and an IA out of ten reported cases in literature. Between 2001 and 2012, 1,690 patients were tested for HD in the Netherlands. One case out of 60 with an IA had a phenotype resembling HD, but had already been published in a case report. Given the high background frequency of intermediate alleles in several populations, the possibility of developing HD would have huge implications for 1-7% of the normal population. It is possible that IAs present as an endophenotype with the potential of subsequent clinical manifestations. However, given the scarcity of convincing cases, the lack of convincing biological evidence for pathogenicity of intermediate alleles, and many genes still to be discovered for HD mimics, we find that it is premature to claim that IAs can cause HD. We recommend systematic follow up of this group of individuals and if possible brain pathology for confirmation or exclusion of HD.

  14. Cognitive domains that predict time to diagnosis in prodromal Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Harrington, Deborah Lynn; Smith, Megan M; Zhang, Ying; Carlozzi, Noelle E; Paulsen, Jane S

    2012-06-01

    Prodromal Huntington's disease (prHD) is associated with a myriad of cognitive changes but the domains that best predict time to clinical diagnosis have not been studied. This is a notable gap because some domains may be more sensitive to cognitive decline, which would inform clinical trials. The present study sought to characterise cognitive domains underlying a large test battery and for the first time, evaluate their ability to predict time to diagnosis. Participants included gene negative and gene positive prHD participants who were enrolled in the PREDICT-HD study. The CAG-age product (CAP) score was the measure of an individual's genetic signature. A factor analysis of 18 tests was performed to identify sets of measures or latent factors that elucidated core constructs of tests. Factor scores were then fit to a survival model to evaluate their ability to predict time to diagnosis. Six factors were identified: (1) speed/inhibition, (2) verbal working memory, (3) motor planning/speed, (4) attention-information integration, (5) sensory-perceptual processing and (6) verbal learning/memory. Factor scores were sensitive to worsening of cognitive functioning in prHD, typically more so than performances on individual tests comprising the factors. Only the motor planning/speed and sensory-perceptual processing factors predicted time to diagnosis, after controlling for CAP scores and motor symptoms. Conclusions The results suggest that motor planning/speed and sensory-perceptual processing are important markers of disease prognosis. The findings also have implications for using composite indices of cognition in preventive Huntington's disease trials where they may be more sensitive than individual tests.

  15. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Latrepirdine in Huntington Disease

    PubMed Central

    Kieburtz, Karl; McDermott, Michael P.; Voss, Tiffini S.; Corey-Bloom, Jody; Deuel, Lisa M.; Dorsey, E. Ray; Factor, Stewart; Geschwind, Michael D.; Hodgeman, Karen; Kayson, Elise; Noonberg, Sarah; Pourfar, Michael; Rabinowitz, Karen; Ravina, Bernard; Sanchez-Ramos, Juan; Seely, Lynn; Walker, Francis; Feigin, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Objectives To evaluate the safety and tolerability of latrepirdine in Huntington disease (HD) and explore its effects on cognition, behavior, and motor symptoms. Design Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Setting Multicenter outpatient trial. Participants Ninety-one participants with mild to moderate HD enrolled at 17 US and UK centers from July 18, 2007, through July 16, 2008. Intervention Latrepirdine, 20 mg 3 times daily (n=46), or matching placebo (n=45) for a 90-day treatment period. Main Outcome Measures The primary outcome variable was tolerability, defined as the ability to complete the study at the assigned drug dosage. Secondary outcome variables included score changes from baseline to day 90 on the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale–cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog). Results Latrepirdine was well tolerated (87% of the patients given latrepirdine completed the study vs 82% in the placebo group), and adverse event rates were comparable in the 2 groups (70% in the latrepirdine group and 80% in the placebo group). Treatment with latrepirdine resulted in improved mean MMSE scores compared with stable performance in the placebo group (treatment effect, 0.97 points; 95% confidence interval, 0.10-1.85; P=.03). No significant treatment effects were seen on the UHDRS or the ADAS-cog. Conclusions Short-term administration of latrepirdine is well tolerated in patients with HD and may have a beneficial effect on cognition. Further investigation of latrepirdine is warranted in this population with HD. PMID:20142523

  16. The functional implications of motor, cognitive, psychiatric, and social problem-solving states in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Van Liew, Charles; Gluhm, Shea; Goldstein, Jody; Cronan, Terry A; Corey-Bloom, Jody

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric dysfunction. In HD, the inability to solve problems successfully affects not only disease coping, but also interpersonal relationships, judgment, and independent living. The aim of the present study was to examine social problem-solving (SPS) in well-characterized HD and at-risk (AR) individuals and to examine its unique and conjoint effects with motor, cognitive, and psychiatric states on functional ratings. Sixty-three participants, 31 HD and 32 gene-positive AR, were included in the study. Participants completed the Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised: Long (SPSI-R:L), a 52-item, reliable, standardized measure of SPS. Items are aggregated under five scales (Positive, Negative, and Rational Problem-Solving; Impulsivity/Carelessness and Avoidance Styles). Participants also completed the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale functional, behavioral, and cognitive assessments, as well as additional neuropsychological examinations and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90R). A structural equation model was used to examine the effects of motor, cognitive, psychiatric, and SPS states on functionality. The multifactor structural model fit well descriptively. Cognitive and motor states uniquely and significantly predicted function in HD; however, neither psychiatric nor SPS states did. SPS was, however, significantly related to motor, cognitive, and psychiatric states, suggesting that it may bridge the correlative gap between psychiatric and cognitive states in HD. SPS may be worth assessing in conjunction with the standard gamut of clinical assessments in HD. Suggestions for future research and implications for patients, families, caregivers, and clinicians are discussed.

  17. Family caregivers' views on coordination of care in Huntington's disease: a qualitative study.

    PubMed

    Røthing, Merete; Malterud, Kirsti; Frich, Jan C

    2015-12-01

    Collaboration between family caregivers and health professionals in specialised hospitals or community-based primary healthcare systems can be challenging. During the course of severe chronic disease, several health professionals might be involved at a given time, and the patient's illness may be unpredictable or not well understood by some of those involved in the treatment and care. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences and expectations of family caregivers for persons with Huntington's disease concerning collaboration with healthcare professionals. To shed light on collaboration from the perspectives of family caregivers, we conducted an explorative, qualitative interview study with 15 adult participants experienced from caring for family members in all stages of Huntington's disease. Data were analysed with systematic text condensation, a cross-case method for thematic analysis of qualitative data. We found that family caregivers approached health services hoping to understand the illness course and to share their concerns and stories with skilled and trustworthy professionals. Family caregivers felt their involvement in consultations and access to ongoing exchanges of knowledge were important factors in improved health services. They also felt that the clarity of roles and responsibilities was crucial to collaboration. Family caregivers should be acknowledged for their competences and should be involved as contributors in partnerships with healthcare professionals. Our study suggests that building respectful partnerships with family caregivers and facilitating the mutual sharing of knowledge may improve the coordination of care. It is important to establish clarity of roles adjusted to caregivers' individual resources for managing responsibilities in the care process. © 2015 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic College of Caring Science.

  18. Editing for an AMPA receptor subunit RNA in prefrontal cortex and striatum in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and schizophrenia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Akbarian, S.; Smith, M. A.; Jones, E. G.; Bloom, F. E. (Principal Investigator)

    1995-01-01

    Animal studies and cell culture experiments demonstrated that posttranscriptional editing of the transcript of the GluR-2 gene, resulting in substitution of an arginine for glutamine in the second transmembrane region (TM II) of the expressed protein, is associated with a reduction in Ca2+ permeability of the receptor channel. Thus, disturbances in GluR-2 RNA editing with alteration of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis could lead to neuronal dysfunction and even neuronal degeneration. The present study determined the proportions of edited and unedited GluR-2 RNA in the prefrontal cortex of brains from patients with Alzheimer's disease, in the striatum of brains from patients with Huntington's disease, and in the same areas of brains from age-matched schizophrenics and controls, by using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, restriction endonuclease digestion, gel electrophoresis and scintillation radiometry. In the prefrontal cortex of controls, < 0.1% of all GluR-2 RNA molecules were unedited and > 99.9% were edited; in the prefrontal cortex both of schizophrenics and of Alzheimer's patients approximately 1.0% of all GluR-2 RNA molecules were unedited and 99% were edited. In the striatum of controls and of schizophrenics, approximately 0.5% of GluR-2 RNA molecules were unedited and 99.5% were edited; in the striatum of Huntington's patients nearly 5.0% of GluR-2 RNA was unedited. In the prefrontal white matter of controls, approximately 7.0% of GluR-2 RNA was unedited. In the normal human prefrontal cortex and striatum, the large majority of GluR-2 RNA molecules contains a CGG codon for arginine in the TMII coding region; this implies that the corresponding AMPA receptors have a low Ca2+ permeability, as previously demonstrated for the rat brain. The process of GluR-2 RNA editing is compromised in a region-specific manner in schizophrenia, in Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's Chorea although in each of these disorders there is still a large excess of

  19. Right ventricular dysfunction in the R6/2 transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease is unmasked by dobutamine.

    PubMed

    Buonincontri, Guido; Wood, Nigel I; Puttick, Simon G; Ward, Alex O; Carpenter, T Adrian; Sawiak, Stephen J; Morton, A Jennifer

    2014-01-01

    Increasingly, evidence from studies in both animal models and patients suggests that cardiovascular dysfunction is important in HD. Previous studies measuring function of the left ventricle (LV) in the R6/2 model have found a clear cardiac abnormality, albeit with preserved LV systolic function. It was hypothesized that an impairment of RV function might play a role in this condition via mechanisms of ventricular interdependence. To investigate RV function in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD). Cardiac cine-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to determine functional parameters in R6/2 mice. In a first experiment, these parameters were derived longitudinally to determine deterioration of cardiac function with disease progression. A second experiment compared the response to a stress test (using dobutamine) of wildtype and early-symptomatic R6/2 mice. There was progressive deterioration of RV systolic function with age in R6/2 mice. Furthermore, beta-adrenergic stimulation with dobutamine revealed RV dysfunction in R6/2 mice before any overt symptoms of the disease were apparent. This work adds to accumulating evidence of cardiovascular dysfunction in R6/2 mice, describing for the first time the involvement of the right ventricle. Cardiovascular dysfunction should be considered, both when treatment strategies are being designed, and when searching for biomarkers for HD.

  20. Gardening with Huntington's disease clients--creating a programme of winter activities.

    PubMed

    Spring, Josephine Anne; Baker, Mark; Dauya, Loreane; Ewemade, Ivie; Marsh, Nicola; Patel, Prina; Scott, Adrienne; Stoy, Nicholas; Turner, Hannah; Viera, Marc; Will, Diana

    2011-01-01

    A programme of garden-related indoor activities was developed to sustain a gardening group for people with mid to late stage Huntington's disease during the winter. The activities were devised by the horticulturist, working empirically, involving the services occupational therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapy art technician, computer room, recreation and leisure staff. The programme was strongly supported by the nursing and care staff. Feedback on the effectiveness of the activities was sought from the clients, team members and unit staff. The clients' interest in gardening was sustained by a multidisciplinary programme of indoor growing and using plant products in creative activities, computing and group projects. The clients enjoyed all activities except one that they said lacked contact with plants. The inexpensive programme of activities enabled creativity and self-expression, stimulated social contact and helped with therapeutic goals of the clients. In addition, it engaged the multi-disciplinary team and the unit staff, was practical and enhanced the environment.

  1. Is gardening a stimulating activity for people with advanced Huntington's disease?

    PubMed

    Spring, Josephine A; Viera, Marc; Bowen, Ceri; Marsh, Nicola

    2014-11-01

    This study evaluated adapted gardening as an activity for people with advanced Huntington's disease (HD) and explored its therapeutic aspects. Visitors and staff completed a questionnaire and participated in structured interviews to capture further information, whereas a pictorial questionnaire was designed for residents with communication difficulties. Staff reported that gardening was a constructive, outdoor activity that promoted social interaction, physical activity including functional movement and posed cognitive challenges. Half the staff thought the activity was problem free and a third used the garden for therapy. Visitors used the garden to meet with residents socially. Despite their disabilities, HD clients enjoyed growing flourishing flowers and vegetables, labelling plants, being outside in the sun and the quiet of the garden. The garden is valued by all three groups. The study demonstrates the adapted method of gardening is a stimulating and enjoyable activity for people with advanced HD. © The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.

  2. Age at onset in Huntington's disease: replication study on the association of HAP1.

    PubMed

    Karadima, Georgia; Dimovasili, Christina; Koutsis, Georgios; Vassilopoulos, Demetris; Panas, Marios

    2012-11-01

    In recent years two association studies investigating the HAP1 T441M (rs4523977) polymorphism as a potential modifying factor of the age at onset (AAO) of Huntington's disease (HD), have been reported. Initially evidence for association was found between the M441 risk allele and the AAO. Subsequently, a second study, although failing to replicate these findings, found evidence for association between the same risk allele and AAO of motor symptoms (mAAO). In the present study, the role of the HAP1 T441M polymorphism as a modifier of the AAO in HD was investigated in a cohort of 298 Greek HD patients. In this cohort the CAG repeat number accounted for 55% of the variance in AAO. No association was found between the HAP1 T441M polymorphism and the AAO of HD. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Tics as an initial manifestation of juvenile Huntington's disease: case report and literature review.

    PubMed

    Cui, Shi-Shuang; Ren, Ru-Jing; Wang, Ying; Wang, Gang; Chen, Sheng-Di

    2017-08-08

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant disorder, typically characterized by chorea due to a trinucleotide repeat expansion in the HTT gene, although the clinical manifestations of patients with juvenile HD (JHD) are atypical. A 17-year-old boy with initial presentation of tics attended our clinic and his DNA analysis demonstrated mutation in the HTT gene (49 CAG repeats). After treatment, his symptoms improved. Furthermore, we performed literature review through searching the databases and summarized clinical features in 33 JHD patients. The most prevalent symptoms are ataxia, and two cases reported that tics as initial and prominent manifestation in JHD. Among them, 88% patients carried CAG repeats beyond 60 and most of them have family history. This case here illustrates the variable range of clinical symptoms of JHD and the necessity of testing for the HD mutation in young patients with tics with symptoms unable to be explained by Tourette's syndrome (TS).

  4. Comparison of phosphodiesterase 10A, dopamine receptors D1 and D2 and dopamine transporter ligand binding in the striatum of the R6/2 and BACHD mouse models of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Miller, Silke; Hill Della Puppa, Geraldine; Reidling, Jack; Marcora, Edoardo; Thompson, Leslie M; Treanor, James

    2014-01-01

    Phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) is expressed at high levels in the striatum and has been proposed both as a biomarker for Huntington's disease pathology and as a target for intervention. PDE10A radiotracers have been successfully used to measure changes in binding density in Huntington's disease patients, but little is known about PDE10A binding in mouse models that are used extensively to model pathology and test therapeutic interventions. Our study investigated changes in PDE10A binding using the selective tracer 3H-7980 at specific ages of two Huntington's disease transgenic mouse models: R6/2, a short-lived model carrying exon-1 of mutant HTT and BACHD, a longer-lived model carrying full-length mutant HTT. PDE10A binding was compared to binding of known markers of striatal atrophy in Huntington's disease, e.g. dopamine transporter (DAT) and dopamine receptors D1 and D2. We found that in the R6/2 model at 6 weeks of age, mice showed high variability of binding, however binding of all ligands was significantly decreased at 8 and 12 weeks of age. In contrast, no changes were detectable in the BACHD model at 8, 10 or 12 month of age. These findings suggest that radiotracer binding of PDE10A, DAT, D1 and D2 receptor in the R6/2 model may be a good indicator of striatal pathological changes that are observed in Huntington's disease patients, and that the first 12 months in the BACHD model may be more reflective of early stages of the disease.

  5. A Systematic Review of the Huntington Disease-Like 2 Phenotype.

    PubMed

    Anderson, David G; Walker, Ruth H; Connor, Myles; Carr, Jonathan; Margolis, Russell L; Krause, Amanda

    2017-01-01

    Huntington Disease-like 2 (HDL2) is a neurodegenerative disorder similar to Huntington Disease (HD) in its clinical phenotype, genetic characteristics, neuropathology and longitudinal progression. Proposed specific differences include an exclusive African ancestry, lack of eye movement abnormalities, increased Parkinsonism, and acanthocytes in HDL2. The objective was to determine the similarities and differences between HD and HDL2 by establishing the clinical phenotype of HDL2 with the published cases. A literature review of all clinically described cases of HDL2 until the end of 2016 was performed and a descriptive analysis was carried out. Sixty-nine new cases were described between 2001 and 2016. All cases had likely African ancestry, and most were found in South Africa and the USA. Many features were found to be similar to HD, including a strong negative correlation between repeat length and age of onset. Chorea was noted in 48/57 cases (84%). Dementia was reported in 74% patients, and Parkinsonism in 37%. Psychiatric features were reported in 44 out of 47 cases. Patients with chorea had lower expanded repeat lengths compared to patients without chorea. Eye movements were described in 19 cases, 8 were abnormal. Acanthocytes were detected in 4 of the 13 patients tested. Nineteen out of 20 MRIs were reported as abnormal with findings similar to HD. This review clarifies some aspects of the HDL2 phenotype and highlights others which require further investigation. Features that are unique to HDL2 have been documented in a minority of subjects and require prospective validation.

  6. Epigenetic alterations mediate iPSC normalization of DNA-repair expression and TNR stability in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Mollica, Peter A; Zamponi, Martina; Reid, John A; Sharma, Deepak K; White, Alyson E; Ogle, Roy C; Bruno, Robert D; Sachs, Patrick C

    2018-06-13

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a rare autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansion within the HTT gene. The mechanisms underlying HD-associated cellular dysfunction during pluripotency and neurodevelopment, are poorly understood. Here we tested the hypothesis that hypomethylation during cellular reprogramming leads to up-regulation of DNA repair genes and stabilization of TNRs in HD cells. We sought to determine how the HD TNR region is affected by global epigenetic changes through cellular reprogramming and early neurodifferentiation. We find that early-stage HD-affected neural stem cells (NSCs) contain increased levels of global 5-hydroxymethylation (5-hmC) and normalized DNA repair gene expression. We confirm TNR stability is induced during pluripotency, and maintained in HD-NSCs. We also identify up-regulation of 5-hmC catalyzing ten-eleven translocation (TET1/2) proteins, and show their knockdown leads to a corresponding decrease in select DNA repair gene expression. We further confirm decreased expression of TET regulating miR-29 family members in HD-NSCs. Our findings demonstrate that mechanisms involved in pluripotency recover the selected DNA repair gene expression and stabilizes pathogenic TNRs in HD. © 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  7. Impaired brain energy metabolism in the BACHD mouse model of Huntington's disease: critical role of astrocyte–neuron interactions

    PubMed Central

    Boussicault, Lydie; Hérard, Anne-Sophie; Calingasan, Noel; Petit, Fanny; Malgorn, Carole; Merienne, Nicolas; Jan, Caroline; Gaillard, Marie-Claude; Lerchundi, Rodrigo; Barros, Luis F; Escartin, Carole; Delzescaux, Thierry; Mariani, Jean; Hantraye, Philippe; Flint Beal, M; Brouillet, Emmanuel; Véga, Céline; Bonvento, Gilles

    2014-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat expansions in the huntingtin (Htt) gene. Although early energy metabolic alterations in HD are likely to contribute to later neurodegenerative processes, the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for these metabolic alterations are not well characterized. Using the BACHD mice that express the full-length mutant huntingtin (mHtt) protein with 97 glutamine repeats, we first demonstrated localized in vivo changes in brain glucose use reminiscent of what is observed in premanifest HD carriers. Using biochemical, molecular, and functional analyses on different primary cell culture models from BACHD mice, we observed that mHtt does not directly affect metabolic activity in a cell autonomous manner. However, coculture of neurons with astrocytes from wild-type or BACHD mice identified mutant astrocytes as a source of adverse non-cell autonomous effects on neuron energy metabolism possibly by increasing oxidative stress. These results suggest that astrocyte-to-neuron signaling is involved in early energy metabolic alterations in HD. PMID:24938402

  8. The role of the amygdala during emotional processing in Huntington's disease: from pre-manifest to late stage disease.

    PubMed

    Mason, Sarah L; Zhang, Jiaxiang; Begeti, Faye; Guzman, Natalie Valle; Lazar, Alpar S; Rowe, James B; Barker, Roger A; Hampshire, Adam

    2015-04-01

    Deficits in emotional processing can be detected in the pre-manifest stage of Huntington's disease and negative emotion recognition has been identified as a predictor of clinical diagnosis. The underlying neuropathological correlates of such deficits are typically established using correlative structural MRI studies. This approach does not take into consideration the impact of disruption to the complex interactions between multiple brain circuits on emotional processing. Therefore, exploration of the neural substrates of emotional processing in pre-manifest HD using fMRI connectivity analysis may be a useful way of evaluating the way brain regions interrelate in the period prior to diagnosis. We investigated the impact of predicted time to disease onset on brain activation when participants were exposed to pictures of faces with angry and neutral expressions, in 20 pre-manifest HD gene carriers and 23 healthy controls. On the basis of the results of this initial study went on to look at amygdala dependent cognitive performance in 79 Huntington's disease patients from a cross-section of disease stages (pre-manifest to late disease) and 26 healthy controls, using a validated theory of mind task: "the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test" which has been previously been shown to be amygdala dependent. Psychophysiological interaction analysis identified reduced connectivity between the left amygdala and right fusiform facial area in pre-manifest HD gene carriers compared to controls when viewing angry compared to neutral faces. Change in PPI connectivity scores correlated with predicted time to disease onset (r=0.45, p<0.05). Furthermore, performance on the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test" correlated negatively with proximity to disease onset and became progressively worse with each stage of disease. Abnormalities in the neural networks underlying social cognition and emotional processing can be detected prior to clinical diagnosis in Huntington's disease. Connectivity

  9. β oscillation during slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep in the electroencephalogram of a transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Jeantet, Yannick; Cayzac, Sebastien; Cho, Yoon H

    2013-01-01

    To search for early abnormalities in electroencephalogram (EEG) during sleep which may precede motor symptoms in a transgenic mouse model of hereditary neurodegenerative Huntington's disease (HD). In the R6/1 transgenic mouse model of HD, rhythmic brain activity in EEG recordings was monitored longitudinally and across vigilance states through the onset and progression of disease. Mice with chronic electrode implants were recorded monthly over wake-sleep cycles (4 hours), beginning at 9-11 weeks (presymptomatic period) through 6-7 months (symptomatic period). Recording data revealed a unique β rhythm (20-35 Hz), present only in R6/1 transgenic mice, which evolves in close parallel with the disease. In addition, there was an unusual relationship between this β oscillation and vigilance states: while nearly absent during the active waking state, the β oscillation appeared with drowsiness and during slow wave sleep (SWS) and, interestingly, strengthened rather than dissipating when the brain returned to an activated state during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In addition to providing a new in vivo biomarker and insight into Huntington's disease pathophysiology, this serendipitous observation opens a window onto the rarely explored neurophysiology of the cortico-basal ganglia circuit during SWS and REM sleep.

  10. Targeting kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO): implications for therapy in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Thevandavakkam, Mathuravani A; Schwarcz, Robert; Muchowski, Paul J; Giorgini, Flaviano

    2010-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an adult onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin protein. Recent work has shown that perturbation of kynurenine pathway (KP) metabolism is a hallmark of HD pathology, and that changes in brain levels of KP metabolites may play a causative role in this disease. The KP contains three neuroactive metabolites, the neurotoxins 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) and quinolinic acid (QUIN), and the neuroprotectant kynurenic acid (KYNA). In model systems in vitro and in vivo, 3-HK and QUIN have been shown to cause neurodegeneration via a combination of excitotoxic mechanisms and oxidative stress. Recent studies with HD patient samples and in HD model systems have supported the idea that a shift away from the synthesis of KYNA and towards the formation of 3-HK and QUIN may trigger the neuropathological features observed in HD. The enzyme kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) is located at a critical branching point in the KP such that inhibition of this enzyme by either pharmacological or genetic means shifts the flux in the pathway towards the formation of KYNA. This intervention ameliorates disease-relevant phenotypes in HD models. Here we review the work implicating the KP in HD pathology and discuss the potential of KMO as a therapeutic target for this disorder. As several neurodegenerative diseases exhibit alterations in KP metabolism, this concept has broader implications for the treatment of brain diseases.

  11. Environmental factors as modulators of neurodegeneration: insights from gene-environment interactions in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Mo, Christina; Hannan, Anthony J; Renoir, Thibault

    2015-05-01

    Unlike many other neurodegenerative diseases with established gene-environment interactions, Huntington's disease (HD) is viewed as a disorder governed by genetics. The cause of the disease is a highly penetrant tandem repeat expansion encoding an extended polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein. In the year 2000, a pioneering study showed that the disease could be delayed in transgenic mice by enriched housing conditions. This review describes subsequent human and preclinical studies identifying environmental modulation of motor, cognitive, affective and other symptoms found in HD. Alongside the behavioral observations we also discuss potential mechanisms and the relevance to other neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. In mouse models of HD, increased sensorimotor and cognitive stimulation can delay or ameliorate various endophenotypes. Potential mechanisms include increased trophic support, synaptic plasticity, adult neurogenesis, and other forms of experience-dependent cellular plasticity. Subsequent clinical investigations support a role for lifetime activity levels in modulating the onset and progression of HD. Stress can accelerate memory and olfactory deficits and exacerbate cellular dysfunctions in HD mice. In the absence of effective treatments to slow the course of HD, environmental interventions offer feasible approaches to delay the disease, however further preclinical and human studies are needed in order to generate clinical recommendations. Environmental interventions could be combined with future pharmacological therapies and stimulate the identification of enviromimetics, drugs which mimic or enhance the beneficial effects of cognitive stimulation and physical activity. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  12. Cloning and expression of the rat homologue of the Huntington disease gene

    SciT

    Schmitt, I.; Epplen, J.T.; Riess, O.

    1994-09-01

    Huntington`s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder which is manifested usually in adult life. The age of onset is variable and leads to progressive symptoms including involuntary choreatic movements and various cognitive and psychiatric disturbances. Recently, a gene (IT15) was cloned containing a (CAG){sub n} repeat which is elongated and unstable in HD patients. IT15 is widely expressed in human tissues but unrelated to any known deduced protein sequence. To further investigate the HD gene, 15 rat cDNA libraries were screened. 24 clones have been identified covering the Huntingtin gene. Comparison of the Huntingtin gene between human andmore » rat revealed homologies between 80% and 87% at the DNA level and about 90% at the protein level. These analyses will help to define biologically important sequence regions, e.g., via evolutionary conservation. One clone contains the (CAG){sub n} repeat which consists of eight triplets compared to seven triplets in the mouse and a median of 17 in human. As in humans there are two transcripts arising from differential 3{prime}-polyadenylation. In the 3{prime}UTR a stretch of about 280 bp is exchanged for a 250 bp fragment with no homology in rodents and man. The cDNA clones are currently used to study Huntingtin gene expression during development in rodent tissues. RNA in situ hybridization of embryonic sections shows predominant signals in all neuronal tissues. In contrast to previously published data Huntingtin mRNA expression in testis is increased in spermatocytes vs. spermatogonia.« less

  13. Dietary intake in adults at risk for Huntington disease: analysis of PHAROS research participants.

    PubMed

    Marder, K; Zhao, H; Eberly, S; Tanner, C M; Oakes, D; Shoulson, I

    2009-08-04

    To examine caloric intake, dietary composition, and body mass index (BMI) in participants in the Prospective Huntington At Risk Observational Study (PHAROS). Caloric intake and macronutrient composition were measured using the National Cancer Institute Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) in 652 participants at risk for Huntington disease (HD) who did not meet clinical criteria for HD. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between macronutrients, BMI, caloric intake, and genetic status (CAG <37 vs CAG > or =37), adjusting for age, gender, and education. Linear regression was used to determine the relationship between caloric intake, BMI, and CAG repeat length. A total of 435 participants with CAG <37 and 217 with CAG > or =37 completed the FFQ. Individuals in the CAG > or =37 group had a twofold odds of being represented in the second, third, or fourth quartile of caloric intake compared to the lowest quartile adjusted for age, gender, education, and BMI. This relationship was attenuated in the highest quartile when additionally adjusted for total motor score. In subjects with CAG > or =37, higher caloric intake, but not BMI, was associated with both higher CAG repeat length (adjusted regression coefficient = 0.26, p = 0.032) and 5-year probability of onset of HD (adjusted regression coefficient = 0.024; p = 0.013). Adjusted analyses showed no differences in macronutrient composition between groups. Increased caloric intake may be necessary to maintain body mass index in clinically unaffected individuals with CAG repeat length > or =37. This may be related to increased energy expenditure due to subtle motor impairment or a hypermetabolic state.

  14. HttQ111/+ Huntington's Disease Knock-in Mice Exhibit Brain Region-Specific Morphological Changes and Synaptic Dysfunction.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, Marina; Milnerwood, Austen; Giordano, James; St Claire, Jason; Guide, Jolene R; Stromberg, Mary; Gillis, Tammy; Sapp, Ellen; DiFiglia, Marian; MacDonald, Marcy E; Carroll, Jeffrey B; Lee, Jong-Min; Tappan, Susan; Raymond, Lynn; Wheeler, Vanessa C

    2018-01-01

    Successful disease-modifying therapy for Huntington's disease (HD) will require therapeutic intervention early in the pathogenic process. Achieving this goal requires identifying phenotypes that are proximal to the HTT CAG repeat expansion. To use Htt CAG knock-in mice, precise genetic replicas of the HTT mutation in patients, as models to study proximal disease events. Using cohorts of B6J.HttQ111/+ mice from 2 to 18 months of age, we analyzed pathological markers, including immunohistochemistry, brain regional volumes and cortical thickness, CAG instability, electron microscopy of striatal synapses, and acute slice electrophysiology to record glutamatergic transmission at striatal synapses. We also incorporated a diet perturbation paradigm for some of these analyses. B6J.HttQ111/+ mice did not exhibit significant neurodegeneration or gliosis but revealed decreased striatal DARPP-32 as well as subtle but regional-specific changes in brain volumes and cortical thickness that parallel those in HD patients. Ultrastructural analyses of the striatum showed reduced synapse density, increased postsynaptic density thickness and increased synaptic cleft width. Acute slice electrophysiology showed alterations in spontaneous AMPA receptor-mediated postsynaptic currents, evoked NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents, and elevated extrasynaptic NMDA currents. Diet influenced cortical thickness, but did not impact somatic CAG expansion, nor did it show any significant interaction with genotype on immunohistochemical, brain volume or cortical thickness measures. These data show that a single HttQ111 allele is sufficient to elicit brain region-specific morphological changes and early neuronal dysfunction, highlighting an insidious disease process already apparent in the first few months of life.

  15. MSH3 polymorphisms and protein levels affect CAG repeat instability in Huntington's disease mice.

    PubMed

    Tomé, Stéphanie; Manley, Kevin; Simard, Jodie P; Clark, Greg W; Slean, Meghan M; Swami, Meera; Shelbourne, Peggy F; Tillier, Elisabeth R M; Monckton, Darren G; Messer, Anne; Pearson, Christopher E

    2013-01-01

    Expansions of trinucleotide CAG/CTG repeats in somatic tissues are thought to contribute to ongoing disease progression through an affected individual's life with Huntington's disease or myotonic dystrophy. Broad ranges of repeat instability arise between individuals with expanded repeats, suggesting the existence of modifiers of repeat instability. Mice with expanded CAG/CTG repeats show variable levels of instability depending upon mouse strain. However, to date the genetic modifiers underlying these differences have not been identified. We show that in liver and striatum the R6/1 Huntington's disease (HD) (CAG)∼100 transgene, when present in a congenic C57BL/6J (B6) background, incurred expansion-biased repeat mutations, whereas the repeat was stable in a congenic BALB/cByJ (CBy) background. Reciprocal congenic mice revealed the Msh3 gene as the determinant for the differences in repeat instability. Expansion bias was observed in congenic mice homozygous for the B6 Msh3 gene on a CBy background, while the CAG tract was stabilized in congenics homozygous for the CBy Msh3 gene on a B6 background. The CAG stabilization was as dramatic as genetic deficiency of Msh2. The B6 and CBy Msh3 genes had identical promoters but differed in coding regions and showed strikingly different protein levels. B6 MSH3 variant protein is highly expressed and associated with CAG expansions, while the CBy MSH3 variant protein is expressed at barely detectable levels, associating with CAG stability. The DHFR protein, which is divergently transcribed from a promoter shared by the Msh3 gene, did not show varied levels between mouse strains. Thus, naturally occurring MSH3 protein polymorphisms are modifiers of CAG repeat instability, likely through variable MSH3 protein stability. Since evidence supports that somatic CAG instability is a modifier and predictor of disease, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that variable levels of CAG instability associated with polymorphisms of

  16. MSH3 Polymorphisms and Protein Levels Affect CAG Repeat Instability in Huntington's Disease Mice

    PubMed Central

    Simard, Jodie P.; Clark, Greg W.; Slean, Meghan M.; Swami, Meera; Shelbourne, Peggy F.; Tillier, Elisabeth R. M.; Monckton, Darren G.; Messer, Anne; Pearson, Christopher E.

    2013-01-01

    Expansions of trinucleotide CAG/CTG repeats in somatic tissues are thought to contribute to ongoing disease progression through an affected individual's life with Huntington's disease or myotonic dystrophy. Broad ranges of repeat instability arise between individuals with expanded repeats, suggesting the existence of modifiers of repeat instability. Mice with expanded CAG/CTG repeats show variable levels of instability depending upon mouse strain. However, to date the genetic modifiers underlying these differences have not been identified. We show that in liver and striatum the R6/1 Huntington's disease (HD) (CAG)∼100 transgene, when present in a congenic C57BL/6J (B6) background, incurred expansion-biased repeat mutations, whereas the repeat was stable in a congenic BALB/cByJ (CBy) background. Reciprocal congenic mice revealed the Msh3 gene as the determinant for the differences in repeat instability. Expansion bias was observed in congenic mice homozygous for the B6 Msh3 gene on a CBy background, while the CAG tract was stabilized in congenics homozygous for the CBy Msh3 gene on a B6 background. The CAG stabilization was as dramatic as genetic deficiency of Msh2. The B6 and CBy Msh3 genes had identical promoters but differed in coding regions and showed strikingly different protein levels. B6 MSH3 variant protein is highly expressed and associated with CAG expansions, while the CBy MSH3 variant protein is expressed at barely detectable levels, associating with CAG stability. The DHFR protein, which is divergently transcribed from a promoter shared by the Msh3 gene, did not show varied levels between mouse strains. Thus, naturally occurring MSH3 protein polymorphisms are modifiers of CAG repeat instability, likely through variable MSH3 protein stability. Since evidence supports that somatic CAG instability is a modifier and predictor of disease, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that variable levels of CAG instability associated with polymorphisms of

  17. Health-related quality of life and unmet healthcare needs in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    van Walsem, Marleen R; Howe, Emilie I; Ruud, Gunvor A; Frich, Jan C; Andelic, Nada

    2017-01-07

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder with a prevalence of 6 per 100.000. Despite increasing research activity on HD, evidence on healthcare utilization, patients' needs for healthcare services and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is still sparse. The present study describes HRQoL in a Norwegian cohort of HD patients, and assesses associations between unmet healthcare and social support service needs and HRQoL. In this cross-sectional population-based study, 84 patients with a clinical diagnosis of HD living in the South-East of Norway completed the HRQoL questionnaire EuroQol, EQ-5D-3L. Unmet needs for healthcare and social support services were assessed by the Needs and Provision Complexity Scale (NPCS). Furthermore, functional ability was determined using the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) Functional assessment scales. Socio-demographics (age, gender, marital status, occupation, residence, housing situation) and clinical characteristics (disease duration, total functional capacity, comorbidity) were also recorded. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the patients' HRQoL. Regression analyses were conducted in order to investigate the relationship between unmet healthcare needs and self-reported HRQoL. The patients were divided across five disease stages as follows: Stage I: n = 12 (14%), Stage II: n = 22 (27%), Stage III: n = 19 (23%), Stage IV: n = 14 (16%), and Stage V: n = 17 (20%). Overall HRQoL was lowest in patients with advanced disease (Stages IV and V), while patients in the middle phase (Stage III) showed the most varied health profile for the five EQ-5D-3L dimensions. The regression model including level of unmet needs, clinical characteristics and demographics (age and education) accounted for 42% of variance in HRQoL. A higher level of unmet needs was associated with lower HRQoL (β value - 0.228; p = 0.018) whereas a better total functional capacity corresponded to

  18. Determinants of Onset of Huntington's Disease with Behavioral Symptoms: Insight from 92 Patients.

    PubMed

    Lenka, Abhishek; Kamble, Nitish L; Sowmya, V; Jhunjhunwala, Ketan; Yadav, Ravi; Netravathi, M; Kandasamy, Mahesh; Moily, Nagaraj S; Purushottam, Meera; Jain, Sanjeev; Pal, Pramod Kumar

    2015-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetically mediated neurodegenerative disorder characterized by presence of involuntary movements, behavioral problems and cognitive dysfunctions. Though few patients with HD may have behavioral symptoms at onset of the disease, studies comparing patients with behavioral symptoms at the onset of HD with those having motor symptoms are sparse. Objective of this study is to determine the differences in the demographic and genetic characteristics of patients with behavioral symptom at the onset of HD from those with motor symptoms. A chart review of 92 patients with HD who had attended the neurology outpatient clinics of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India was done. Demographic and genetic characteristics of HD patients with onset of the disease with initial behavioral symptoms (HD-iB) were compared with patients with onset of the disease with initial motor symptoms (HD-iM). The principal findings in our study were (i) higher proportion of patients with HD-iB had a positive family history of HD, (ii) maternal inheritance of HD was more frequent among those with HD-iB, and (iii) There is no significant difference between the CAG repeat length between HD-iB and HD-iM groups. Presence of family history of HD especially inheritance of HD from mother may be associated with behavioral symptoms at the onset of HD. CAG repeat length in patients with HD-iB does not differ from those with HD-iM.

  19. The Medicinal Chemistry of Natural and Semisynthetic Compounds against Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases.

    PubMed

    Zanforlin, Enrico; Zagotto, Giuseppe; Ribaudo, Giovanni

    2017-11-15

    Among the diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS), neurodegenerations attract the interest of both the clinician and the medicinal chemist. The increasing average age of population, the growing number of patients, and the lack of long-term effective remedies push ahead the quest for novel tools against this class of pathologies. We present a review on the state of the art of the molecules (or combination of molecules) of natural origin that are currently under study against two well-defined pathologies: Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD). Nowadays, very few tools are available for preventing or counteracting the progression of such diseases. Two major parameters were considered for the preparation of this review: particular attention was reserved to these research works presenting well-defined molecular mechanisms for the studied compounds, and where available, papers reporting in vivo data were preferred. A literature search for peer-reviewed articles using PubMed, Scopus, and Reaxys databases was performed, exploiting different keywords and logical operators: 91 papers were considered (preferentially published after 2015). The review presents a brief overview on the etiology of the studied neurodegenerations and the current treatments, followed by a detailed discussion of the natural and semisynthetic compounds dividing them in different paragraphs considering their several mechanisms of action.

  20. AMPK activation protects from neuronal dysfunction and vulnerability across nematode, cellular and mouse models of Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Vázquez-Manrique, Rafael P.; Farina, Francesca; Cambon, Karine; Dolores Sequedo, María; Parker, Alex J.; Millán, José María; Weiss, Andreas; Déglon, Nicole; Neri, Christian

    2016-01-01

    The adenosine monophosphate activated kinase protein (AMPK) is an evolutionary-conserved protein important for cell survival and organismal longevity through the modulation of energy homeostasis. Several studies suggested that AMPK activation may improve energy metabolism and protein clearance in the brains of patients with vascular injury or neurodegenerative disease. However, in Huntington's disease (HD), AMPK may be activated in the striatum of HD mice at a late, post-symptomatic phase of the disease, and high-dose regiments of the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide may worsen neuropathological and behavioural phenotypes. Here, we revisited the role of AMPK in HD using models that recapitulate the early features of the disease, including Caenorhabditis elegans neuron dysfunction before cell death and mouse striatal cell vulnerability. Genetic and pharmacological manipulation of aak-2/AMPKα shows that AMPK activation protects C. elegans neurons from the dysfunction induced by human exon-1 huntingtin (Htt) expression, in a daf-16/forkhead box O-dependent manner. Similarly, AMPK activation using genetic manipulation and low-dose metformin treatment protects mouse striatal cells expressing full-length mutant Htt (mHtt), counteracting their vulnerability to stress, with reduction of soluble mHtt levels by metformin and compensation of cytotoxicity by AMPKα1. Furthermore, AMPK protection is active in the mouse brain as delivery of gain-of-function AMPK-γ1 to mouse striata slows down the neurodegenerative effects of mHtt. Collectively, these data highlight the importance of considering the dynamic of HD for assessing the therapeutic potential of stress-response targets in the disease. We postulate that AMPK activation is a compensatory response and valid approach for protecting dysfunctional and vulnerable neurons in HD. PMID:26681807

  1. Egocentric and allocentric visuospatial working memory in premotor Huntington's disease: A double dissociation with caudate and hippocampal volumes.

    PubMed

    Possin, Katherine L; Kim, Hosung; Geschwind, Michael D; Moskowitz, Tacie; Johnson, Erica T; Sha, Sharon J; Apple, Alexandra; Xu, Duan; Miller, Bruce L; Finkbeiner, Steven; Hess, Christopher P; Kramer, Joel H

    2017-07-01

    Our brains represent spatial information in egocentric (self-based) or allocentric (landmark-based) coordinates. Rodent studies have demonstrated a critical role for the caudate in egocentric navigation and the hippocampus in allocentric navigation. We administered tests of egocentric and allocentric working memory to individuals with premotor Huntington's disease (pmHD), which is associated with early caudate nucleus atrophy, and controls. Each test had 80 trials during which subjects were asked to remember 2 locations over 1-sec delays. The only difference between these otherwise identical tests was that locations could only be coded in self-based or landmark-based coordinates. We applied a multiatlas-based segmentation algorithm and computed point-wise Jacobian determinants to measure regional variations in caudate and hippocampal volumes from 3T MRI. As predicted, the pmHD patients were significantly more impaired on egocentric working memory. Only egocentric accuracy correlated with caudate volumes, specifically the dorsolateral caudate head, right more than left, a region that receives dense efferents from dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, only allocentric accuracy correlated with hippocampal volumes, specifically intermediate and posterior regions that connect strongly with parahippocampal and posterior parietal cortices. These results indicate that the distinction between egocentric and allocentric navigation applies to working memory. The dorsolateral caudate is important for egocentric working memory, which can explain the disproportionate impairment in pmHD. Allocentric working memory, in contrast, relies on the hippocampus and is relatively spared in pmHD. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Structure and Dynamics of RNA Repeat Expansions That Cause Huntington's Disease and Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jonathan L; VanEtten, Damian M; Fountain, Matthew A; Yildirim, Ilyas; Disney, Matthew D

    2017-07-11

    RNA repeat expansions cause a host of incurable, genetically defined diseases. The most common class of RNA repeats consists of trinucleotide repeats. These long, repeating transcripts fold into hairpins containing 1 × 1 internal loops that can mediate disease via a variety of mechanism(s) in which RNA is the central player. Two of these disorders are Huntington's disease and myotonic dystrophy type 1, which are caused by r(CAG) and r(CUG) repeats, respectively. We report the structures of two RNA constructs containing three copies of a r(CAG) [r(3×CAG)] or r(CUG) [r(3×CUG)] motif that were modeled with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and simulated annealing with restrained molecular dynamics. The 1 × 1 internal loops of r(3×CAG) are stabilized by one-hydrogen bond (cis Watson-Crick/Watson-Crick) AA pairs, while those of r(3×CUG) prefer one- or two-hydrogen bond (cis Watson-Crick/Watson-Crick) UU pairs. Assigned chemical shifts for the residues depended on the identity of neighbors or next nearest neighbors. Additional insights into the dynamics of these RNA constructs were gained by molecular dynamics simulations and a discrete path sampling method. Results indicate that the global structures of the RNA are A-form and that the loop regions are dynamic. The results will be useful for understanding the dynamic trajectory of these RNA repeats but also may aid in the development of therapeutics.

  3. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Huntington's Disease Research: Progress and Opportunity.

    PubMed

    Tousley, Adelaide; Kegel-Gleason, Kimberly B

    2016-06-28

    Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from controls and patients can act as a starting point for in vitro differentiation into human brain cells for discovery of novel targets and treatments for human disease without the same ethical limitations posed by embryonic stem cells. Numerous groups have successfully produced and characterized Huntington's disease (HD) iPSCs with different CAG repeat lengths, including cells from patients with one or two HD alleles. HD iPSCs and the neural cell types derived from them recapitulate some disease phenotypes found in both human patients and animal models. Although these discoveries are encouraging, the use of iPSCs for cutting edge and reproducible research has been limited due to some of the inherent problems with cell lines and the technological differences in the way laboratories use them. The goal of this review is to summarize the current state of the HD iPSC field, and to highlight some of the issues that need to be addressed to maximize their potential as research tools.

  4. Environment-dependent striatal gene expression in the BACHD rat model for Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Novati, Arianna; Hentrich, Thomas; Wassouf, Zinah; Weber, Jonasz J; Yu-Taeger, Libo; Déglon, Nicole; Nguyen, Huu Phuc; Schulze-Hentrich, Julia M

    2018-04-11

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in the huntingtin (HTT) gene which results in progressive neurodegeneration in the striatum, cortex, and eventually most brain areas. Despite being a monogenic disorder, environmental factors influence HD characteristics. Both human and mouse studies suggest that mutant HTT (mHTT) leads to gene expression changes that harbor potential to be modulated by the environment. Yet, the underlying mechanisms integrating environmental cues into the gene regulatory program have remained largely unclear. To better understand gene-environment interactions in the context of mHTT, we employed RNA-seq to examine effects of maternal separation (MS) and environmental enrichment (EE) on striatal gene expression during development of BACHD rats. We integrated our results with striatal consensus modules defined on HTT-CAG length and age-dependent co-expression gene networks to relate the environmental factors with disease progression. While mHTT was the main determinant of expression changes, both MS and EE were capable of modulating these disturbances, resulting in distinctive and in several cases opposing effects of MS and EE on consensus modules. This bivalent response to maternal separation and environmental enrichment may aid in explaining their distinct effects observed on disease phenotypes in animal models of HD and related neurodegenerative disorders.

  5. Neurofilament light protein in blood predicts regional atrophy in Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Eileanoir B.; Byrne, Lauren M.; Gregory, Sarah; Rodrigues, Filipe B.; Blennow, Kaj; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R.; Roos, Raymund A.; Zetterberg, Henrik; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Scahill, Rachael I.

    2018-01-01

    Objective Neurofilament light (NfL) protein in blood plasma has been proposed as a prognostic biomarker of neurodegeneration in a number of conditions, including Huntington disease (HD). This study investigates the regional distribution of NfL-associated neural pathology in HD gene expansion carriers. Methods We examined associations between NfL measured in plasma and regionally specific atrophy in cross-sectional (n = 198) and longitudinal (n = 177) data in HD gene expansion carriers from the international multisite TRACK-HD study. Using voxel-based morphometry, we measured associations between baseline NfL levels and both baseline gray matter and white matter volume; and longitudinal change in gray matter and white matter over the subsequent 3 years in HD gene expansion carriers. Results After controlling for demographics, associations between increased NfL levels and reduced brain volume were seen in cortical and subcortical gray matter and within the white matter. After also controlling for known predictors of disease progression (age and CAG repeat length), associations were limited to the caudate and putamen. Longitudinally, NfL predicted subsequent occipital gray matter atrophy and widespread white matter reduction, both before and after correction for other predictors of disease progression. Conclusions These findings highlight the value of NfL as a dynamic marker of brain atrophy and, more generally, provide further evidence of the strong association between plasma NfL level, a candidate blood biomarker, and pathologic neuronal change. PMID:29367444

  6. IGF-1 intranasal administration rescues Huntington's disease phenotypes in YAC128 mice.

    PubMed

    Lopes, Carla; Ribeiro, Márcio; Duarte, Ana I; Humbert, Sandrine; Saudou, Frederic; Pereira de Almeida, Luís; Hayden, Michael; Rego, A Cristina

    2014-06-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by an expansion of CAG repeats in the gene encoding for huntingtin. Brain metabolic dysfunction and altered Akt signaling pathways have been associated with disease progression. Nevertheless, conflicting results persist regarding the role of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)/Akt pathway in HD. While high plasma levels of IGF-1 correlated with cognitive decline in HD patients, other data showed protective effects of IGF-1 in HD striatal neurons and R6/2 mice. Thus, in the present study, we investigated motor phenotype, peripheral and central metabolic profile, and striatal and cortical signaling pathways in YAC128 mice subjected to intranasal administration of recombinant human IGF-1 (rhIGF-1) for 2 weeks, in order to promote IGF-1 delivery to the brain. We show that IGF-1 supplementation enhances IGF-1 cortical levels and improves motor activity and both peripheral and central metabolic abnormalities in YAC128 mice. Moreover, decreased Akt activation in HD mice brain was ameliorated following IGF-1 administration. Upregulation of Akt following rhIGF-1 treatment occurred concomitantly with increased phosphorylation of mutant huntingtin on Ser421. These data suggest that intranasal administration of rhIGF-1 ameliorates HD-associated glucose metabolic brain abnormalities and mice phenotype.

  7. Clinical trial perspective for adult and juvenile Huntington's disease using genetically-engineered mesenchymal stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Deng, Peter; Torrest, Audrey; Pollock, Kari; Dahlenburg, Heather; Annett, Geralyn; Nolta, Jan A.; Fink, Kyle D.

    2016-01-01

    Progress to date from our group and others indicate that using genetically-engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to secrete brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) supports our plan to submit an Investigational New Drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for the future planned Phase 1 safety and tolerability trial of MSC/BDNF in patients with Huntington's disease (HD). There are also potential applications of this approach beyond HD. Our biological delivery system for BDNF sets the precedent for adult stem cell therapy in the brain and could potentially be modified for other neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Alzheimer's disease, and some forms of Parkinson's disease. The MSC/BDNF product could also be considered for studies of regeneration in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury. This work also provides a platform for our future gene editing studies, since we will again use MSCs to deliver the needed molecules into the central nervous system. PMID:27335539

  8. microRNA-128a dysregulation in transgenic Huntington's disease monkeys.

    PubMed

    Kocerha, Jannet; Xu, Yan; Prucha, Melinda S; Zhao, Dongming; Chan, Anthony W S

    2014-06-13

    Huntington's Disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with a single causal mutation in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently been implicated as epigenetic regulators of neurological disorders, however, their role in HD pathogenesis is not well defined. Here we study transgenic HD monkeys (HD monkeys) to examine miRNA dysregulation in a primate model of the disease. In this report, 11 miRNAs were found to be significantly associated (P value < 0.05) with HD in the frontal cortex of the HD monkeys. We further focused on one of those candidates, miR-128a, due to the corresponding disruption in humans and mice with HD as well as its intriguing lists of gene targets. miR-128a was downregulated in our HD monkey model by the time of birth. We then confirmed that miR-128a was also downregulated in the brains of pre-symptomatic and post-symptomatic HD patients. Additionally, our studies confirmed a panel of canonical HD signaling genes regulated by miR-128a, including HTT and Huntingtin Interaction Protein 1 (HIP1). Our studies found that miR-128a may play a critical role in HD and could be a viable candidate as a therapeutic or biomarker of the disease.

  9. Two different phenomena in basic motor speech performance in premanifest Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Skodda, Sabine; Grönheit, Wenke; Lukas, Carsten; Bellenberg, Barbara; von Hein, Sarah M; Hoffmann, Rainer; Saft, Carsten

    2016-03-09

    Dysarthria is a common feature in Huntington disease (HD). The aim of this cross-sectional pilot study was the description and objective analysis of different speech parameters with special emphasis on the aspect of speech timing of connected speech and nonspeech verbal utterances in premanifest HD (preHD). A total of 28 preHD mutation carriers and 28 age- and sex-matched healthy speakers had to perform a reading task and several syllable repetition tasks. Results of computerized acoustic analysis of different variables for the measurement of speech rate and regularity were correlated with clinical measures and MRI-based brain atrophy assessment by voxel-based morphometry. An impaired capacity to steadily repeat single syllables with higher variations in preHD compared to healthy controls was found (variance 1: Cohen d = 1.46). Notably, speech rate was increased compared to controls and showed correlations to the volume of certain brain areas known to be involved in the sensory-motor speech networks (net speech rate: Cohen d = 1.19). Furthermore, speech rate showed correlations to disease burden score, probability of disease onset, the estimated years to onset, and clinical measures like the cognitive score. Measurement of speech rate and regularity might be helpful additional tools for the monitoring of subclinical functional disability in preHD. As one of the possible causes for higher performance in preHD, we discuss huntingtin-dependent temporarily advantageous development processes of the brain. © 2016 American Academy of Neurology.

  10. Sulforaphane enhances proteasomal and autophagic activities in mice and is a potential therapeutic reagent for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yanying; Hettinger, Casey L; Zhang, Dong; Rezvani, Khosrow; Wang, Xuejun; Wang, Hongmin

    2014-05-01

    The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is impaired in Huntington's disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. Sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound, has been shown to stimulate UPS activity in cell cultures. To test whether sulforaphane enhances UPS function in vivo, we treated UPS function reporter mice ubiquitously expressing the green fluorescence protein (GFP) fused to a constitutive degradation signal that promotes its rapid degradation in the conditions of a healthy UPS. The modified GFP is termed GFP UPS reporter (GFPu). We found that both GFPu and ubiquitinated protein levels were significantly reduced and the three peptidase activities of the proteasome were increased in the brain and peripheral tissues of the mice. Interestingly, sulforaphane treatment also enhanced autophagy activity in the brain and the liver. To further examine whether sulforaphane promotes mutant huntingtin (mHtt) degradation, we treated Huntington's disease cells with sulforaphane and found that sulforaphane not only enhanced mHtt degradation but also reduced mHtt cytotoxicity. Sulforaphane-mediated mHtt degradation was mainly through the UPS pathway as the presence of a proteasome inhibitor abolished this effect. Taken together, these data indicate that sulforaphane activates protein degradation machineries in both the brain and peripheral tissues and may be a therapeutic reagent for Huntington's disease and other intractable disorders. Accumulation of mutant huntingtin (mHtt) protein causes Huntington's disease (HD). Sulforaphane (SFN), a naturally occurring compound, increased proteasome and autophagy activities in vivo and enhanced mHtt turnover and cell survival in HD cell models. SFN-mediated mHtt degradation is mainly through the proteasome pathway. These data suggest that SFN can be a therapeutic reagent for treating HD and other intractable disorders. © 2014 International Society for Neurochemistry.

  11. Video game play (Dance Dance Revolution) as a potential exercise therapy in Huntington's disease: a controlled clinical trial.

    PubMed

    Kloos, Anne D; Fritz, Nora E; Kostyk, Sandra K; Young, Gregory S; Kegelmeyer, Deb A

    2013-11-01

    To investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and safety of a supervised video game exercise program administered via Dance Dance Revolution in individuals with Huntington's disease. A cross-over, controlled, single-blinded, six-week trial. Home-based. Eighteen ambulatory individuals with Huntington's disease (seven male, mean age 50.7 SD 14.7). Participants played the Dance Dance Revolution game with supervision and the handheld game without supervision for 45 minutes, two days per week for six weeks. Game play performance and adherence, participant perceptions of the game, safety (vital signs, adverse health changes), spatiotemporal gait measures, Four-Square Step Test, Tinetti Mobility Test, Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale, and World Health Organization Quality of Life - Bref, before and after each intervention. Most participants improved on game play, enjoyed playing the game, and wanted to continue playing after study completion. After playing Dance Dance Revolution, participants showed significant reductions in double support percentage (adjusted mean difference (95% confidence intervals): -2.54% (-4.75, -0.34) for forward walking and -4.18 (-6.89, -0.48) for backward walking) and those with less severe motor symptoms had reductions in heel-to-heel base of support during forward walking. The remaining measures were not significantly impacted by the intervention. Dance Dance Revolution appears to be a feasible, motivating, and safe exercise intervention for individuals with Huntington's disease.

  12. Loss of corticostriatal and thalamostriatal synaptic terminals precedes striatal projection neuron pathology in heterozygous Q140 Huntington's disease mice.

    PubMed

    Deng, Y P; Wong, T; Bricker-Anthony, C; Deng, B; Reiner, A

    2013-12-01

    Motor slowing, forebrain white matter loss, and striatal shrinkage have been reported in premanifest Huntington's disease (HD) prior to overt striatal neuron loss. We carried out detailed LM and EM studies in a genetically precise HD mimic, heterozygous Q140 HD knock-in mice, to examine the possibility that loss of corticostriatal and thalamostriatal terminals prior to striatal neuron loss underlies these premanifest HD abnormalities. In our studies, we used VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 immunolabeling to detect corticostriatal and thalamostriatal (respectively) terminals in dorsolateral (motor) striatum over the first year of life, prior to striatal projection neuron pathology. VGLUT1+ axospinous corticostriatal terminals represented about 55% of all excitatory terminals in striatum, and VGLUT2+ axospinous thalamostriatal terminals represented about 35%, with VGLUT1+ and VGLUT2+ axodendritic terminals accounting for the remainder. In Q140 mice, a significant 40% shortfall in VGLUT2+ axodendritic thalamostriatal terminals and a 20% shortfall in axospinous thalamostriatal terminals were already observed at 1 month of age, but VGLUT1+ terminals were normal in abundance. The 20% deficiency in VGLUT2+ thalamostriatal axospinous terminals persisted at 4 and 12 months in Q140 mice, and an additional 30% loss of VGLUT1+ corticostriatal terminals was observed at 12 months. The early and persistent deficiency in thalamostriatal axospinous terminals in Q140 mice may reflect a development defect, and the impoverishment of this excitatory drive to striatum may help explain early motor defects in Q140 mice and in premanifest HD. The loss of corticostriatal terminals at 1 year in Q140 mice is consistent with prior evidence from other mouse models of corticostriatal disconnection early during progression, and can explain both the measurable bradykinesia and striatal white matter loss in late premanifest HD. © 2013.

  13. Striatal Direct and Indirect Pathway Output Structures are Differentially Altered in Mouse Models of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Barry, Joshua; Akopian, Garnik; Cepeda, Carlos; Levine, Michael S

    2018-04-24

    The present study examined synaptic communication between direct and indirect output pathway striatal medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs) and their target structures, the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) and the external globus pallidus (GPe) in two mouse models of Huntington's disease (HD). Cre-recombination, optogenetics, and whole-cell patch clamp recordings were used to determine alterations in intrinsic and synaptic properties of SNr and GPe neurons from both male and female symptomatic R6/2 (>60 days) and pre- (2 months) or symptomatic (10-12 months) YAC128 mice. Cell membrane capacitance was decreased whereas input resistance was increased in SNr neurons from R6/2, but not YAC128 mice. The amplitude of GABAergic responses evoked by optogenetic stimulation of direct pathway terminals was reduced in SNr neurons of symptomatic mice of both models. A decrease in spontaneous GABA synaptic activity, in particular large-amplitude events, in SNr neurons also was observed. Passive membrane properties of GPe neurons were not different between R6/2 or YAC128 mice and their control littermates. Similarly, the amplitude of GABA responses evoked by activation of indirect pathway MSN terminals and the frequency of spontaneous GABA synaptic activity were similar in HD and control animals. In contrast, the decay time of the evoked GABA response was significantly longer in cells from HD mice. Interestingly, activation of indirect pathway MSNs within the striatum evoked larger-amplitude responses in direct pathway MSNs. Together, these results demonstrate differential alterations in responses evoked by direct and indirect pathway terminals in SNr and GPe leading to striatal output imbalance and motor dysfunction. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Previous work on Huntington's disease (HD) focused on striatal medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs) almost exclusively. Little is known about the effects that alterations in the striatum have on output structures of the direct and indirect

  14. Dysregulation of C/EBPalpha by mutant Huntingtin causes the urea cycle deficiency in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Chiang, Ming-Chang; Chen, Hui-Mei; Lee, Yi-Hsin; Chang, Hao-Hung; Wu, Yi-Chih; Soong, Bing-Wen; Chen, Chiung-Mei; Wu, Yih-Ru; Liu, Chin-San; Niu, Dau-Ming; Wu, Jer-Yuarn; Chen, Yuan-Tsong; Chern, Yijuang

    2007-03-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. Using two mouse models of HD, we demonstrate that the urea cycle deficiency characterized by hyperammonemia, high blood citrulline and suppression of urea cycle enzymes is a prominent feature of HD. The resultant ammonia toxicity might exacerbate the neurological deficits of HD. Suppression of C/EBPalpha, a crucial transcription factor for the transcription of urea cycle enzymes, appears to mediate the urea cycle deficiency in HD. We found that in the presence of mutant Htt, C/EBPalpha loses its ability to interact with an important cofactor (CREB-binding protein). Moreover, mutant Htt recruited C/EBPalpha into aggregates, as well as suppressed expression of the C/EBPalpha gene. Consumption of protein-restricted diets not only led to the restoration of C/EBPalpha's activity, and repair of the urea cycle deficiency and hyperammonemia, but also ameliorated the formation of Htt aggregates, the motor deterioration, the suppression of striatal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the normalization of three protein chaperones (Hsp27, Hsp70 and Hsp90). Treatments aimed at repairing the urea cycle deficiency may provide a new strategy for dealing with HD.

  15. Huntingtin protein: A new option for fixing the Huntington's disease countdown clock.

    PubMed

    Caterino, Marco; Squillaro, Tiziana; Montesarchio, Daniela; Giordano, Antonio; Giancola, Concetta; Melone, Mariarosa A B

    2018-06-01

    Huntington's disease is a dreadful, incurable disorder. It springs from the autosomal dominant mutation in the first exon of the HTT gene, which encodes for the huntingtin protein (HTT) and results in progressive neurodegeneration. Thus far, all the attempted approaches to tackle the mutant HTT-induced toxicity causing this disease have failed. The mutant protein comes with the aberrantly expanded poly-glutamine tract. It is primarily to blame for the build-up of β-amyloid-like HTT aggregates, deleterious once broadened beyond the critical ∼35-37 repeats threshold. Recent experimental findings have provided valuable information on the molecular basis underlying this HTT-driven neurodegeneration. These findings indicate that the poly-glutamine siding regions and many post-translation modifications either abet or counter the poly-glutamine tract. This review provides an overall, up-to-date insight into HTT biophysics and structural biology, particularly discussing novel pharmacological options to specifically target the mutated protein and thus inhibit its functions and toxicity. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Epidemiological Study of Huntington's Disease in the Province of Ferrara, Italy.

    PubMed

    Carrassi, Erika; Pugliatti, Maura; Govoni, Vittorio; Sensi, Mariachiara; Casetta, Ilaria; Granieri, Enrico

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the abnormal expansion of CAG triplet repeat. We aimed to reappraise HD epidemiology in a northern Italian population, in relation to introduction of genetic testing. Through ICD-9M code 333.4 and medical fare exemption code RF0080, HD cases were identified from administrative health data and medical records from the Units of Neurology and Genetics, Ferrara University Hospital, and from other provincial neurological structures. HD mean annual incidence rate in 1990-2009 was 0.3 per 100,000 (95% CI 0.2-0.5). All incident cases were found to have symptoms of the disease's classic form, and neither juvenile nor the rigid Westphal variant was detected. The mean (SD) age at onset was 50.2 (12.7 years; range 32-82 years), 54.9 (14.6) for men and 45.8 (9.4) for women. On prevalence day, December 31, 2014, HD prevalence was 4.2 per 100,000 (95% CI 2.4-7.0), with a male:female ratio of 1:2. The prevalence and incidence of HD in our population were lower than the prevalence and incidence reported for other European and Italian populations, but higher compared to those of Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Compared to previous studies, HD incidence and prevalence did not change significantly. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  17. Understanding the outcomes measures used in Huntington disease pharmacologicaltrials: A systematic review

    PubMed Central

    Carlozzi, Noelle E; Miciura, Angela; Migliore, Nicholas; Dayalu, Praveen

    2014-01-01

    Background The identification of the gene mutation causing Huntington disease has raised hopes for new treatments to ease symptoms and slow functional decline. As such, there has been a push towards designing efficient pharmacological trials (i.e., drug trials), especially with regard to selecting outcomes measures that are both brief and sensitive to changes across the course of the disease, from subtle prodromal changes, to more severe end-stage changes. Objectives Recently, to aid in efficient development of new HD research studies, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) published recommendations for measurement selection in HD. While these recommendations are helpful, many of the recommended measures have little published data in HD. As such, we conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify the most common outcomes measures used in HD clinical trials. Methods Major medical databases, including PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, were used to identify peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 2001 through April 2013; 151 pharmacological trials were identified. Results The majority of HD clinical trials employed clinician-reported outcomes measures (93%); patient reported outcome measures (11%) and observer reported outcome measures (3%) were used with much less frequency. Conclusions We provide a review of the most commonly used measures across these trials, compare these measures to the clinical recommendations made by the NINDS working groups, and provide recommendations for selecting measures for future clinical trials that meet the Food and Drug Administration standards. PMID:25300328

  18. Substance abuse may hasten motor onset of Huntington disease: Evaluating the Enroll-HD database.

    PubMed

    Schultz, Jordan L; Kamholz, John A; Moser, David J; Feely, Shawna M E; Paulsen, Jane S; Nopoulos, Peg C

    2017-02-28

    To investigate the relationship between substances of abuse and age at motor onset (AMO) in patients with Huntington disease (HD) in a large and diverse patient population. This was a retrospective, observational study of the Enroll-HD database. Participants were determined to belong to 1 of 3 substance abuse groups: (1) tobacco abusers, (2) alcohol abusers, and (3) drug abusers. A group of participants who had never abused substances served as a control group. The average AMO of patients in the substance abuse groups was compared to the control group. The number of CAG repeats was used as a covariate in all analyses. The average difference in AMOs of participants in the tobacco (n = 566), alcohol (n = 374), and drug abuse groups (n = 217) compared to the control group (n = 692) were 2.3 ( F 1, 1,258 = 33.8, p < 0.0001), 1.0 ( F 1, 1,066 = 4.2, p = 0.04), and 3.3 ( F 1, 909 = 29.7, p < 0.0001) years earlier, respectively. In all substance abuse groups, the AMO was lowered to a greater degree in female participants than it was in male participants. Substances of abuse have a strong effect on the AMO in patients with HD. These effects seem to be amplified in women with HD compared to men. These results may provide a safe intervention capable of adding disease-free years to patients with HD. © 2017 American Academy of Neurology.

  19. Isolation and characterization of new highly polymorphic DNA markers from the Huntington disease region

    SciT

    Weber, B.; Hedrick, A.; Andrew, S.

    1992-02-01

    The defect causing Huntington disease (HD) has been mapped to 4p16.3, distal to the DNA marker D4S10. Subsequently, additional polymorphic markers closer to the HD gene have been isolated, which has led to the establishment of predictive testing programs for individuals at risk for HD. Approximately 17% of persons presenting to the Canadian collaborative study for predictive testing for HD have not received any modification of risk, in part because of limited informativeness of currently available DNA markers. Therefore, more highly polymorphic DNA markers are needed, which well further increase the accuracy and availability of predictive testing, specifically for familiesmore » with complex or incomplete pedigree structures. In addition, new markers are urgently needed in order to refine the breakpoints in the few known recombinant HD chromosomes, which could allow a more accurate localization of the HD gene within 4p16.3 and, therefore, accelerate the cloning of the disease gene. In this study, the authors present the identification and characterization of nine new polymorphic DNA markers, including three markers which detect highly informative multiallelic VNTR-like polymorphisms with PIC values of up to .84. These markers have been isolated from a cloned region of DNA which has been previously mapped approximately 1,000 kb from the 4p telomere.« less

  20. Huntington's disease accelerates epigenetic aging of human brain and disrupts DNA methylation levels.

    PubMed

    Horvath, Steve; Langfelder, Peter; Kwak, Seung; Aaronson, Jeff; Rosinski, Jim; Vogt, Thomas F; Eszes, Marika; Faull, Richard L M; Curtis, Maurice A; Waldvogel, Henry J; Choi, Oi-Wa; Tung, Spencer; Vinters, Harry V; Coppola, Giovanni; Yang, X William

    2016-07-01

    Age of Huntington's disease (HD) motoric onset is strongly related to the number of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the huntingtin gene, suggesting that biological tissue age plays an important role in disease etiology. Recently, a DNA methylation based biomarker of tissue age has been advanced as an epigenetic aging clock. We sought to inquire if HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age. DNA methylation data was generated for 475 brain samples from various brain regions of 26 HD cases and 39 controls. Overall, brain regions from HD cases exhibit a significant epigenetic age acceleration effect (p=0.0012). A multivariate model analysis suggests that HD status increases biological age by 3.2 years. Accelerated epigenetic age can be observed in specific brain regions (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and cingulate gyrus). After excluding controls, we observe a negative correlation (r=-0.41, p=5.5×10-8) between HD gene CAG repeat length and the epigenetic age of HD brain samples. Using correlation network analysis, we identify 11 co-methylation modules with a significant association with HD status across 3 broad cortical regions. In conclusion, HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age of specific brain regions and more broadly with substantial changes in brain methylation levels.

  1. Evaluating Recall and Recognition Memory Using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment: Applicability for Alzheimer's and Huntington's Diseases.

    PubMed

    Van Liew, Charles; Santoro, Maya S; Goldstein, Jody; Gluhm, Shea; Gilbert, Paul E; Corey-Bloom, Jody

    2016-12-01

    We sought to investigate whether the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) could provide a brief assessment of recall and recognition using Huntington disease (HD) and Alzheimer disease (AD) as disorders characterized by different memory deficits. This study included 80 participants with HD, 64 participants with AD, and 183 community-dwelling control participants. Random-effects hierarchical logistic regressions were performed to assess the relative performance of the normal control (NC), participants with HD, and participants with AD on verbal free recall, cued recall, and multiple-choice recognition on the MoCA. The NC participants performed significantly better than participants with AD at all the 3 levels of assessment. No difference existed between participants with HD and NC for cued recall, but NC participants performed significantly better than participants with HD on free recall and recognition. The participants with HD performed significantly better than participants with AD at all the 3 levels of assessment. The MoCA appears to be a valuable, brief cognitive assessment capable of identifying specific memory deficits consistent with known differences in memory profiles. © The Author(s) 2016.

  2. Attentional impairments in Huntington's disease: A specific deficit for the executive conflict.

    PubMed

    Maurage, Pierre; Heeren, Alexandre; Lahaye, Magali; Jeanjean, Anne; Guettat, Lamia; Verellen-Dumoulin, Christine; Halkin, Stéphane; Billieux, Joël; Constant, Eric

    2017-05-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is characterized by motor and cognitive impairments including memory, executive, and attentional functions. However, because earlier studies relied on multidetermined attentional tasks, uncertainty still abounds regarding the differential deficit across attentional subcomponents. Likewise, the evolution of these deficits during the successive stages of HD remains unclear. The present study simultaneously explored 3 distinct networks of attention (alerting, orienting, executive conflict) in preclinical and clinical HD. Thirty-eight HD patients (18 preclinical) and 38 matched healthy controls completed the attention network test, an integrated and theoretically grounded task assessing the integrity of 3 attentional networks. Preclinical HD was not characterized by any attentional deficit compared to controls. Conversely, clinical HD was associated with a differential deficit across the 3 attentional networks under investigation, showing preserved performance for alerting and orienting networks but massive and specific impairment for the executive conflict network. This indexes an impaired use of executive control to resolve the conflict between task-relevant stimuli and interfering task-irrelevant ones. Clinical HD does not lead to a global attentional deficit but rather to a specific impairment for the executive control of attention. Moreover, the absence of attentional deficits in preclinical HD suggests that these deficits are absent at the initial stages of the disease. In view of their impact on everyday life, attentional deficits should be considered in clinical contexts. Therapeutic programs improving the executive control of attention by neuropsychology and neuromodulation should be promoted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved).

  3. Preventing mutant huntingtin proteolysis and intermittent fasting promote autophagy in models of Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Ehrnhoefer, Dagmar E; Martin, Dale D O; Schmidt, Mandi E; Qiu, Xiaofan; Ladha, Safia; Caron, Nicholas S; Skotte, Niels H; Nguyen, Yen T N; Vaid, Kuljeet; Southwell, Amber L; Engemann, Sabine; Franciosi, Sonia; Hayden, Michael R

    2018-03-06

    Huntington disease (HD) is caused by the expression of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) bearing a polyglutamine expansion. In HD, mHTT accumulation is accompanied by a dysfunction in basal autophagy, which manifests as specific defects in cargo loading during selective autophagy. Here we show that the expression of mHTT resistant to proteolysis at the caspase cleavage site D586 (C6R mHTT) increases autophagy, which may be due to its increased binding to the autophagy adapter p62. This is accompanied by faster degradation of C6R mHTT in vitro and a lack of mHTT accumulation the C6R mouse model with age. These findings may explain the previously observed neuroprotective properties of C6R mHTT. As the C6R mutation cannot be easily translated into a therapeutic approach, we show that a scheduled feeding paradigm is sufficient to lower mHTT levels in YAC128 mice expressing cleavable mHTT. This is consistent with a previous model, where the presence of cleavable mHTT impairs basal autophagy, while fasting-induced autophagy remains functional. In HD, mHTT clearance and autophagy may become increasingly impaired as a function of age and disease stage, because of gradually increased activity of mHTT-processing enzymes. Our findings imply that mHTT clearance could be enhanced by a regulated dietary schedule that promotes autophagy.

  4. Abnormal degradation of the neuronal stress-protective transcription factor HSF1 in Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Gomez-Pastor, Rocio; Burchfiel, Eileen T.; Neef, Daniel W.; Jaeger, Alex M.; Cabiscol, Elisa; McKinstry, Spencer U.; Doss, Argenia; Aballay, Alejandro; Lo, Donald C.; Akimov, Sergey S.; Ross, Christopher A.; Eroglu, Cagla; Thiele, Dennis J.

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by poly-glutamine expansion in the Htt protein, resulting in Htt misfolding and cell death. Expression of the cellular protein folding and pro-survival machinery by heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) ameliorates biochemical and neurobiological defects caused by protein misfolding. We report that HSF1 is degraded in cells and mice expressing mutant Htt, in medium spiny neurons derived from human HD iPSCs and in brain samples from patients with HD. Mutant Htt increases CK2α′ kinase and Fbxw7 E3 ligase levels, phosphorylating HSF1 and promoting its proteasomal degradation. An HD mouse model heterozygous for CK2α′ shows increased HSF1 and chaperone levels, maintenance of striatal excitatory synapses, clearance of Htt aggregates and preserves body mass compared with HD mice homozygous for CK2α′. These results reveal a pathway that could be modulated to prevent neuronal dysfunction and muscle wasting caused by protein misfolding in HD. PMID:28194040

  5. The Complexity of Clinical Huntington's Disease: Developments in Molecular Genetics, Neuropathology and Neuroimaging Biomarkers.

    PubMed

    Tippett, Lynette J; Waldvogel, Henry J; Snell, Russell G; Vonsattel, Jean-Paul; Young, Anne B; Faull, Richard L M

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterised by extensive neuronal loss in the striatum and cerebral cortex, and a triad of clinical symptoms affecting motor, cognitive/behavioural and mood functioning. The mutation causing HD is an expansion of a CAG tract in exon 1 of the HTT gene. This chapter provides a multifaceted overview of the clinical complexity of HD. We explore recent directions in molecular genetics including the identification of loci that are genetic modifiers of HD that could potentially reveal therapeutic targets beyond the HTT gene transcript and protein. The variability of clinical symptomatology in HD is considered alongside recent findings of variability in cellular and neurochemical changes in the striatum and cerebral cortex in human brain. We review evidence from structural neuroimaging methods of progressive changes of striatum, cerebral cortex and white matter in pre-symptomatic and symptomatic HD, with a particular focus on the potential identification of neuroimaging biomarkers that could be used to test promising disease-specific and modifying treatments. Finally we provide an overview of completed clinical trials in HD and future therapeutic developments.

  6. Co-segregation of Huntington disease and hereditary spastic paraplegia in 4 generations.

    PubMed

    Panas, Marios; Karadima, Georgia; Kalfakis, Nikolaos; Vassilopoulos, Dimitris

    2011-07-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by choreic hyperkinesias, cognitive decline, and psychiatric manifestations, caused by an increased number of CAG repeats in the IT15 gene on chromosome 4p16.3. Silver syndrome is a rare autosomal dominant form of complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia, characterized by lower limb spasticity in addition to amyotrophy of the small muscles of the hands. In addition to the previously identified locus SPG17 on chromosome 11q12-q14, a new locus (SPG38) on chromosome 4p16-p15 has been recently identified, a region that includes the HD gene. We present a Greek family with 5 members diagnosed with HD in 4 generations. All affected members also presented with clinical features of Silver syndrome showing severe spastic paraplegia and prominent atrophy of all small hand muscles bilaterally. None of the other family members showed features of either HD or spastic paraplegia. The reported coexistence of Silver syndrome with HD in 4 generations is not fortuitous, suggesting that these 2 distinct genetic disorders are in linkage disequilibrium. Although rare, it is reasonable to expect additional similar cases. Clinical neurologists should perhaps investigate this possibility in cases combining features of HD and involvement of the upper and lower motor neurons.

  7. Neural and mesenchymal stem cells in animal models of Huntington's disease: past experiences and future challenges.

    PubMed

    Kerkis, Irina; Haddad, Monica Santoro; Valverde, Cristiane Wenceslau; Glosman, Sabina

    2015-12-14

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes progressive nerve cell degeneration. It is triggered by a mutation in the HTT gene that strongly influences functional abilities and usually results in movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders. HD is incurable, although treatments are available to help manage symptoms and to delay the physical, mental and behavioral declines associated with the condition. Stem cells are the essential building blocks of life, and play a crucial role in the genesis and development of all higher organisms. Ablative surgical procedures and fetal tissue cell transplantation, which are still experimental, demonstrate low rates of recovery in HD patients. Due to neuronal cell death caused by accumulation of the mutated huntingtin (mHTT) protein, it is unlikely that such brain damage can be treated solely by drug-based therapies. Stem cell-based therapies are important in order to reconstruct damaged brain areas in HD patients. These therapies have a dual role: stem cell paracrine action, stimulating local cell survival, and brain tissue regeneration through the production of new neurons from the intrinsic and likely from donor stem cells. This review summarizes current knowledge on neural stem/progenitor cell and mesenchymal stem cell transplantation, which has been carried out in several animal models of HD, discussing cell distribution, survival and differentiation after transplantation, as well as functional recovery and anatomic improvements associated with these approaches. We also discuss the usefulness of this information for future preclinical and clinical studies in HD.

  8. Social support in cyberspace: a content analysis of communication within a Huntington's disease online support group.

    PubMed

    Coulson, Neil S; Buchanan, Heather; Aubeeluck, Aimee

    2007-10-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disorder, characterized by a progressive degeneration of the brain. Due to the nature of the symptoms, the genetic element of the disease, and the fact that there is no cure, HD patients and those in their support network often experience considerable stress and anxiety. With an expansion in Internet access, individuals affected by HD have new opportunities for information retrieval and social support. The aim of this study is to examine the provision of social support in messages posted to a HD online support group bulletin board. In total, 1313 messages were content analyzed using a modified version of the social support behavior code developed by [Cutrona CE, Suhr J. Controllability of stressful events and satisfaction with spouse support behaviors. Commun Res 1992;19:154-74]. The analysis indicates that group members most frequently offered informational (56.2%) and emotional support (51.9%) followed by network support (48.4%) with esteem support (21.7%), and tangible assistance (9.8%) least frequently offered. This study suggests that exchanging informational and emotional support represents a key function of this online group. Online support groups provide a unique opportunity for health professionals to learn about the experiences and views of individuals affected by HD and explore where and why gaps may exist between evidence-based medicine and consumer behavior and expectations.

  9. Huntington's disease accelerates epigenetic aging of human brain and disrupts DNA methylation levels

    PubMed Central

    Horvath, Steve; Langfelder, Peter; Kwak, Seung; Aaronson, Jeff; Rosinski, Jim; Vogt, Thomas F.; Eszes, Marika; Faull, Richard L.M.; Curtis, Maurice A.; Waldvogel, Henry J.; Choi, Oi-Wa; Tung, Spencer; Vinters, Harry V.; Coppola, Giovanni; Yang, X. William

    2016-01-01

    Age of Huntington's disease (HD) motoric onset is strongly related to the number of CAG trinucleotide repeats in the huntingtin gene, suggesting that biological tissue age plays an important role in disease etiology. Recently, a DNA methylation based biomarker of tissue age has been advanced as an epigenetic aging clock. We sought to inquire if HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age. DNA methylation data was generated for 475 brain samples from various brain regions of 26 HD cases and 39 controls. Overall, brain regions from HD cases exhibit a significant epigenetic age acceleration effect (p=0.0012). A multivariate model analysis suggests that HD status increases biological age by 3.2 years. Accelerated epigenetic age can be observed in specific brain regions (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and cingulate gyrus). After excluding controls, we observe a negative correlation (r=−0.41, p=5.5×10−8) between HD gene CAG repeat length and the epigenetic age of HD brain samples. Using correlation network analysis, we identify 11 co-methylation modules with a significant association with HD status across 3 broad cortical regions. In conclusion, HD is associated with an accelerated epigenetic age of specific brain regions and more broadly with substantial changes in brain methylation levels. PMID:27479945

  10. Moral landscapes and everyday life in families with Huntington's disease: aligning ethnographic description and bioethics.

    PubMed

    Huniche, Lotte

    2011-06-01

    This article is concerned with understanding moral aspects of everyday life in families with Huntington's Disease (HD). It draws on findings from an empirical research project in Denmark in 1998-2002 involving multi-sited ethnography to argue that medical genetics provides a particular framework for conducting life in an HD family. A framework that implies that being informed and making use of genetic services expresses greater moral responsibility than conducting life without drawing on these resources. The moral imperative of engagement in medical genetics is challenged here by two pieces of ethnographic analysis. The first concerns a person who, as described by a family member, does not engage with medical genetics but who brings to the fore other culturally legitimate concerns, priorities and areas of responsibility. The second figures a genetic counselling session where neither the knowledge nor the imagined solutions of medical genetics are as unproblematic and straightforward as might be thought. To assist our understanding of the moral aspects of living with severe familial disease, the ethnographic analysis is aligned with bioethical reflections that place the concrete concerns of those personally involved centre stage in the development of theoretical stances that aim to assist reflections in practice. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Genetic Contributors to Intergenerational CAG Repeat Instability in Huntington's Disease Knock-In Mice.

    PubMed

    Neto, João Luís; Lee, Jong-Min; Afridi, Ali; Gillis, Tammy; Guide, Jolene R; Dempsey, Stephani; Lager, Brenda; Alonso, Isabel; Wheeler, Vanessa C; Pinto, Ricardo Mouro

    2017-02-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in exon 1 of the HTT gene. Longer repeat sizes are associated with increased disease penetrance and earlier ages of onset. Intergenerationally unstable transmissions are common in HD families, partly underlying the genetic anticipation seen in this disorder. HD CAG knock-in mouse models also exhibit a propensity for intergenerational repeat size changes. In this work, we examine intergenerational instability of the CAG repeat in over 20,000 transmissions in the largest HD knock-in mouse model breeding datasets reported to date. We confirmed previous observations that parental sex drives the relative ratio of expansions and contractions. The large datasets further allowed us to distinguish effects of paternal CAG repeat length on the magnitude and frequency of expansions and contractions, as well as the identification of large repeat size jumps in the knock-in models. Distinct degrees of intergenerational instability were observed between knock-in mice of six background strains, indicating the occurrence of trans-acting genetic modifiers. We also found that lines harboring a neomycin resistance cassette upstream of Htt showed reduced expansion frequency, indicative of a contributing role for sequences in cis, with the expanded repeat as modifiers of intergenerational instability. These results provide a basis for further understanding of the mechanisms underlying intergenerational repeat instability. Copyright © 2017 by the Genetics Society of America.

  12. Glucose transportation in the brain and its impairment in Huntington disease: one more shade of the energetic metabolism failure?

    PubMed

    Morea, Veronica; Bidollari, Eris; Colotti, Gianni; Fiorillo, Annarita; Rosati, Jessica; De Filippis, Lidia; Squitieri, Ferdinando; Ilari, Andrea

    2017-07-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) or Huntington's chorea is the most common inherited, dominantly transmitted, neurodegenerative disorder. It is caused by increased CAG repeats number in the gene coding for huntingtin (Htt) and characterized by motor, behaviour and psychiatric symptoms, ultimately leading to death. HD patients also exhibit alterations in glucose and energetic metabolism, which result in pronounced weight loss despite sustained calorie intake. Glucose metabolism decreases in the striatum of all the subjects with mutated Htt, but affects symptom presentation only when it drops below a specific threshold. Recent evidence points at defects in glucose uptake by the brain, and especially by neurons, as a relevant component of central glucose hypometabolism in HD patients. Here we review the main features of glucose metabolism and transport in the brain in physiological conditions and how these processes are impaired in HD, and discuss the potential ability of strategies aimed at increasing intracellular energy levels to counteract neurological and motor degeneration in HD patients.

  13. Natural biological variation of white matter microstructure is accentuated in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Gregory, Sarah; Crawford, Helen; Seunarine, Kiran; Leavitt, Blair; Durr, Alexandra; Roos, Raymund A C; Scahill, Rachael I; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Rees, Geraint; Langbehn, Douglas; Orth, Michael

    2018-04-22

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a monogenic neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG-repeat expansion in the Huntingtin gene. Presence of this expansion signifies certainty of disease onset, but only partly explains age at which onset occurs. Genome-wide association studies have shown that naturally occurring genetic variability influences HD pathogenesis and disease onset. Investigating the influence of biological traits in the normal population, such as variability in white matter properties, on HD pathogenesis could provide a complementary approach to understanding disease modification. We have previously shown that while white matter diffusivity patterns in the left sensorimotor network were similar in controls and HD gene-carriers, they were more extreme in the HD group. We hypothesized that the influence of natural variation in diffusivity on effects of HD pathogenesis on white matter is not limited to the sensorimotor network but extends to cognitive, limbic, and visual networks. Using tractography, we investigated 32 bilateral pathways within HD-related networks, including motor, cognitive, and limbic, and examined diffusivity metrics using principal components analysis. We identified three independent patterns of diffusivity common to controls and HD gene-carriers that predicted HD status. The first pattern involved almost all tracts, the second was limited to sensorimotor tracts, and the third encompassed cognitive network tracts. Each diffusivity pattern was associated with network specific performance. The consistency in diffusivity patterns across both groups coupled with their association with disease status and task performance indicates that naturally-occurring patterns of diffusivity can become accentuated in the presence of the HD gene mutation to influence clinical brain function. © 2018 The Authors Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. The Impact of Family History on the Clinical Features of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Kringlen, Gabe; Kinsley, Lisa; Aufox, Sharon; Rouleau, Gerald; Bega, Danny

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder. In most cases the disease is inherited from a parent, although a considerable number of affected persons have no reported family history of the disease. While CAG repeat length is negatively correlated with age of symptom onset, variability exists suggesting that other variables may influence symptom onset. The objective of this study is to determine whether awareness of a family history of HD has an impact on symptom onset and disease manifestations. Data were obtained from Enroll-HD to compare subjects with a family history of HD to subjects without on various key clinical outcomes. In addition, multiple regressions were performed to investigate the impact of family history on the age at onset of depression and motor symptoms. 4,285 mutation positive subjects were included in the analysis, of which 4.81% had a negative family history. Controlling for CAG repeat length, a positive family history predicted an onset of depression 11.438 years earlier and an onset of motor symptoms 6.681 years earlier when compared to having a negative family history. Subjects with a positive family history were more likely to report behavioral manifestations as the initial major symptom of HD (38.6% vs. 29.6%, p = 0.023), and were more likely to report previous suicidal ideation/attempts (26.2% vs. 20.3%, p = 0.046). A positive family history of HD appears to be associated with an earlier onset of depression and overall disease manifestations. Implications regarding the role of genetic versus environmental contributions to symptom onset in HD are discussed.

  15. EMQN/CMGS best practice guidelines for the molecular genetic testing of Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Losekoot, Monique; van Belzen, Martine J; Seneca, Sara; Bauer, Peter; Stenhouse, Susan A R; Barton, David E

    2013-05-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is caused by the expansion of an unstable polymorphic trinucleotide (CAG)n repeat in exon 1 of the HTT gene, which translates into an extended polyglutamine tract in the protein. Laboratory diagnosis of HD involves estimation of the number of CAG repeats. Molecular genetic testing for HD is offered in a wide range of laboratories both within and outside the European community. In order to measure the quality and raise the standard of molecular genetic testing in these laboratories, the European Molecular Genetics Quality Network has organized a yearly external quality assessment (EQA) scheme for molecular genetic testing of HD for over 10 years. EQA compares a laboratory's output with a fixed standard both for genotyping and reporting of the results to the referring physicians. In general, the standard of genotyping is very high but the clarity of interpretation and reporting of the test result varies more widely. This emphasizes the need for best practice guidelines for this disorder. We have therefore developed these best practice guidelines for genetic testing for HD to assist in testing and reporting of results. The analytical methods and the potential pitfalls of molecular genetic testing are highlighted and the implications of the different test outcomes for the consultand and his or her family members are discussed.

  16. Subjective Assessment of Sleep in Huntington Disease: Reliability of Sleep Questionnaires Compared to Polysomnography.

    PubMed

    Piano, Carla; Della Marca, Giacomo; Losurdo, Anna; Imperatori, Claudio; Solito, Marcella; Calandra-Buonaura, Giovanna; Provini, Federica; Cortelli, Pietro; Bentivoglio, Anna Rita

    2017-01-01

    The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical reliability of subjective sleep evaluation, based on sleep and psychometric questionnaires, by comparing the results with those obtained with laboratory-based video-polysomnography (V-PSG). Thirty consecutive Huntington disease (HD) patients were enrolled. Subjective evaluation of sleep included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the sleep questionnaire for HD (HDQ), the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, the Bologna questionnaire for sleepiness (BQ), the Berlin questionnaire, and the RBD questionnaire; the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group scale was administered to patients with positive screening. The psychometric evaluation included the Zung Anxiety Scale, the short form of the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory. All patients underwent V-PSG. In sleepiness evaluation, the Epworth score was above the cutoff in 6 subjects, and the BQ detected a "high risk" of sleepiness in 7 cases. The results were concordant in 24 and discordant in 5 cases. In the evaluation of sleep quality, the PSQI score was above the cutoff in 18 subjects. According to the HDQ, 10 subjects were poor sleepers. The results were concordant with the PSQI in 20 subjects. All comparisons between scale scores and PSG results showed poor or totally absent concordance between subjective and objective measures. The subjective evaluation of sleep in HD patients shows a poor correlation with PSG results. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  17. Genetic aspects of Huntington's disease in Latin America. A systematic review.

    PubMed

    Castilhos, R M; Augustin, M C; Santos, J A; Perandones, C; Saraiva-Pereira, M L; Jardim, L B

    2016-03-01

    We aimed to present a systematic review on Huntington's disease (HD) in Latin America (LA). PubMed and LILACS were searched up to March 2015, reporting confirmed HD cases in LA. Case series, cross-sectional, case-control, and prospective studies were included. From 534 communications, 47 were eligible. Population-based studies were not found; minimal prevalence of 0.5-4/100,000 was estimated for Venezuela and Mexico. Geographical isolates were well characterized in Venezuela and in Peru. CAG repeats at HTT gene varied between 7-33 and 37-112 in normal and expanded alleles, respectively. Intermediate alleles were found in 4-10% of controls. Ages at onset and the expanded CAG repeats correlated with r from - 0.55 to -0.91. While haplotype patterns of Venezuelan and Brazilian chromosomes were similar to those observed in Europeans, haplotypes from Peruvian HD patients did not match the same pattern. The limited number of papers found suggests that HD is poorly diagnosed in LA. Minimal prevalence seemed to be halfway between those of Caucasians and Asians. Range of CAG repeats was similar to those of Europeans. Haplotype studies indicate that majority of HD patients might be of Caucasian descent; an Asian origin for some Peruvian patients was proposed. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. Emergency ECT in an incapacitated, medically compromised patient with Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Magid, Michelle; Trevino, Kenneth; Reid, William H; Jalalat, Sheila; Husain, Mustafa M; Kahn, David A

    2014-11-01

    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is infrequently considered an "emergency" medical procedure; however, there are certain conditions in which there is considerable urgency to initiate ECT. For example, prompt administration of ECT to treat neuroleptic malignant syndrome and malignant catatonia is necessary to improve a patient's overall prognosis and potentially save the patient's life. In this case, a 57-year-old woman with Huntington's disease was admitted to our medical intensive care unit for failure to thrive due to severe psychotic symptoms. Prior to her admission, the patient had become increasingly psychotic and agitated, resulting in her refusal and/or inability to eat. Efforts to treat her severe psychiatric and behavioral symptoms with various psychopharmacological strategies were largely unsuccessful. As the patient's physical health continued to decline, with loss of approximately 35 pounds over 2 months, her family began making arrangements to transfer her to a hospice facility. The day before she was to be transferred, the psychiatry consultation-liaison service recommended ECT. Unfortunately, this recommendation was complicated because the patient was unable to provide consent. This case report describes the legal and administrative process used to ethically and legally administer ECT without consent from the patient or a court-appointed guardian in order to treat a life-threatening condition. To the best of our knowledge, this report documents the first time ECT has been granted "medical emergency" status in Texas.

  19. Mitochondrial modulators improve lipid composition and attenuate memory deficits in experimental model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Mehrotra, Arpit; Sood, Abhilasha; Sandhir, Rajat

    2015-12-01

    3-Nitropropionic acid (3-NP) is an irreversible inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase and induces neuropathological changes similar to those observed in Huntington's disease (HD). The objective of the present study was to investigate neuroprotective effect of mitochondrial modulators; alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) on 3-NP-induced alterations in mitochondrial lipid composition, mitochondrial structure and memory functions. Experimental model of HD was developed by administering 3-NP at sub-chronic doses, twice daily for 17 days. The levels of conjugated dienes, cholesterol and glycolipids were significantly increased, whereas the levels of phospholipids (phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine) including cardiolipin were significantly decreased in the mitochondria isolated from the striatum of 3-NP-treated animals. In addition, the difference in molecular composition of each phospholipid class was also evaluated using mass spectrometry. Mitochondria lipid from 3-NP-treated animals showed increased cholesterol to phospholipid ratio, suggesting decreased mitochondrial membrane fluidity. 3-NP administration also resulted in ultra-structural changes in mitochondria, accompanied by swelling as assessed by transmission electron microscopy. The 3-NP administered animals had impaired spatial memory evaluated using elevated plus maze test. However, combined supplementation with ALA + ALCAR for 21 days normalized mitochondrial lipid composition, improved mitochondrial structure and ameliorated memory impairments in 3-NP-treated animals, suggesting an imperative role of these two modulators in combination in the management of HD.

  20. Mitochondrial cofactors in experimental Huntington's disease: behavioral, biochemical and histological evaluation.

    PubMed

    Mehrotra, Arpit; Sandhir, Rajat

    2014-03-15

    The present study was carried out to evaluate the beneficial effect of mitochondrial cofactors; alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) in 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) induced experimental model of Huntington's disease (HD). HD was developed by administering sub-chronic doses of 3-NP, intraperitoneally, twice daily for 17 days. The animals were assessed for their behavioral performance in terms of motor (spontaneous locomotor activity, narrow beam walk test, footprint analysis and rotarod test) and cognitive (elevated plus maze and T-maze tests) functions. 3-NP treated animals showed impairment in motor coordination such as decreased stride length, increased distance between inner toes, and increased gait angle. Increased transfer latency on elevated plus maze and T-maze tasks revealed cognition deficits in 3-NP treated animals. Increased lipid peroxidation and concomitant decrease in thiol levels were also observed. 3-NP administration also induced histopathological changes in terms of enhanced striatal lesion volume, presence of pyknotic nuclei and astrogliosis. However, combined supplementation with ALA+ALCAR to 3-NP administered animals for 21 days was able to efficiently improve behavioral deficits, attenuate oxidative stress and histological changes, suggesting a putative role of these two supplements if given together in ameliorating 3-NP induced impairments and thus could be engaged in managing HD. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Mitochondrial modulators in experimental Huntington's disease: reversal of mitochondrial dysfunctions and cognitive deficits.

    PubMed

    Mehrotra, Arpit; Kanwal, Abhinav; Banerjee, Sanjay Kumar; Sandhir, Rajat

    2015-06-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a chronic neurodegenerative condition involving impaired mitochondrial functions. The present study evaluates the therapeutic potential of combined administration of mitochondrial modulators: alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine on mitochondrial dysfunctions in 3-NP-induced HD. Our results reveal 3-NP administration resulted in compromise of mitochondrial functions in terms of: (1) impaired activity of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes, altered cytochrome levels, reduced histochemical staining of complex-II and IV, reduced in-gel activity of complex-I to V, and reduced mRNA expression of respiratory chain complexes; (2) enhanced mitochondrial oxidative stress indicated by increased malondialdehyde, protein carbonyls, reactive oxygen species and nitrite levels, along with decreased Mn-superoxide dismutase and catalase activity; (3) mitochondrial structural changes measured by mitochondrial swelling, reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and ultra-structure changes; (4) increased cytosolic cytochrome c levels, caspase-3 and -9 activity along with altered expression of apoptotic proteins (AIF, Bim, Bad, and Bax); and (5) impaired cognitive functions assessed using Morris water maze and Y-maze. Combination of mitochondrial modulators (alpha-lipoic acid + acetyl-l-carnitine) on the other hand ameliorated 3-NP-induced mitochondrial dysfunctions, oxidative stress, histologic alterations, and behavioral deficits, suggesting their therapeutic efficacy in the management of HD. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Low anaerobic threshold and increased skeletal muscle lactate production in subjects with Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Ciammola, Andrea; Sassone, Jenny; Sciacco, Monica; Mencacci, Niccolò E; Ripolone, Michela; Bizzi, Caterina; Colciago, Clarissa; Moggio, Maurizio; Parati, Gianfranco; Silani, Vincenzo; Malfatto, Gabriella

    2011-01-01

    Mitochondrial defects that affect cellular energy metabolism have long been implicated in the etiology of Huntington's disease (HD). Indeed, several studies have found defects in the mitochondrial functions of the central nervous system and peripheral tissues of HD patients. In this study, we investigated the in vivo oxidative metabolism of exercising muscle in HD patients. Ventilatory and cardiometabolic parameters and plasma lactate concentrations were monitored during incremental cardiopulmonary exercise in twenty-five HD subjects and twenty-five healthy subjects. The total exercise capacity was normal in HD subjects but notably the HD patients and presymptomatic mutation carriers had a lower anaerobic threshold than the control subjects. The low anaerobic threshold of HD patients was associated with an increase in the concentration of plasma lactate. We also analyzed in vitro muscular cell cultures and found that HD cells produce more lactate than the cells of healthy subjects. Finally, we analyzed skeletal muscle samples by electron microscopy and we observed striking mitochondrial structural abnormalities in two out of seven HD subjects. Our findings confirm mitochondrial abnormalities in HD patients' skeletal muscle and suggest that the mitochondrial dysfunction is reflected functionally in a low anaerobic threshold and an increased lactate synthesis during intense physical exercise. Copyright © 2010 Movement Disorder Society.

  3. Personality traits in Huntington's disease: An exploratory study of gene expansion carriers and non-carriers.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Ida Unmack; Mortensen, Erik Lykke; Vinther-Jensen, Tua; Nielsen, Jørgen Erik; Knudsen, Gitte Moos; Vogel, Asmus

    2016-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is associated with risk for developing psychiatric symptoms. Vulnerability or resilience to psychiatric symptoms may be associated with personality traits. This exploratory study, aimed to investigate personality traits in a large cohort of HD carriers and at risk gene-expansion negative individuals (HD non-carriers), exploring whether carrying the HD gene or growing up in an HD family influences personality traits. Forty-seven HD carriers, Thirty-nine HD non-carriers, and 121 healthy controls answered the Danish version of the revised NEO personality inventory. Comparisons between HD carriers and HD non-carriers were mostly non-significant but the combined group of HD carriers and non-carriers showed significantly higher scores on the facets: "hostility," "assertiveness," and "activity" and on the trait "Conscientiousness" relative to controls, "Conscientiousness" have been associated with resilience to psychiatric symptoms. Twelve HD carriers and non-carriers were classified as depressed and showed significantly lower scores on "Extraversion" and "Conscientiousness" and significantly higher scores on "Neuroticism," which are associated with vulnerability to psychiatric symptoms. Our findings suggest that, there is no direct effect of the HD gene on personality traits, but that personality assessment may be relevant to use when identifying individuals from HD families who are vulnerable to develop psychiatric symptoms. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. Inhibition of specific HDACs and sirtuins suppresses pathogenesis in a Drosophila model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Pallos, Judit; Bodai, Laszlo; Lukacsovich, Tamas; Purcell, Judith M; Steffan, Joan S; Thompson, Leslie Michels; Marsh, J Lawrence

    2008-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is associated with transcriptional dysregulation, and multiple studies with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors suggest that global approaches for restoring transcriptional balance and appropriate protein acetylation are therapeutically promising. To determine whether more targeted approaches might be effective, we have tested the impact of all the HDACs in Drosophila on Huntingtin (Htt)-induced pathology. Among the zinc-dependent or 'classic' HDACs, we find that neurodegeneration is most sensitive to levels of Rpd3. We also find that among the NAD(+)-dependent class III deacetylases, genetic or pharmacological reduction of either Sir2 or Sirt2 provides neuroprotection to Htt-challenged animals and that even greater neuroprotection is achieved when Rpd3 and Sir2 are simultaneously reduced. Our experiments suggest that longevity promoting strategies may be distinct from those that protect against neurodegeneration in Drosophila challenged with mutant human Htt. These results highlight a novel therapeutic approach for HD in the form of Sir2 inhibition and possible combinatorial inhibition of Sir2 and Rpd3.

  5. Initiation of reflective frames in counseling for Huntingtons Disease predictive testing.

    PubMed

    Sarangi, Srikant; Bennert, Kristina; Howell, Lucy; Clarke, Angus; Harper, Peter; Gray, Jonathon

    2004-04-01

    Genetic professionals and clients are likely to assign different meanings to the extended format of the counseling protocols for predictive testing. In order to facilitate informed, client-centered decisions about the possibility of predictive testing, counselors routinely use the question format to initiate what we call "reflective frames" that invite clients to discuss their feelings and encourage them to adopt introspective and self-reflective stances toward their own experience--spanning the past, the present, and the hypothetical future. We suggest that such initiations of reflective frames constitute a key element of counselors' nondirective stance, although the exact nature of their formulations can be complex and varied. Examining 24 Huntington's Disease (HD) clinic sessions involving 12 families in South Wales with the tools of discourse analysis, our focus in this paper is twofold: (i) to propose a classification of six types of reflective questions (e.g. nonspecific invites, awareness and anxiety, decision about testing, impact of result, dissemination, and other) and to examine their distribution across the various clinic appointments, and (ii) to investigate the scope of these questions in terms of temporal and social axes. We link our analysis to the current debate within the genetic counseling profession about the merits of reflection- versus information-focused counseling styles and the need to abide by professionally warranted and institutionally embedded counseling protocols.

  6. Suicidality in Huntington's Disease: A Qualitative Study on Coping Styles and Support Strategies.

    PubMed

    Hubers, Anna A M; Hamming, Annette; Giltay, Erik J; von Faber, Margaret; Roos, Raymund A C; van der Mast, Rose C; van Duijn, Erik

    2016-05-31

    Huntington's disease (HD) mutation carriers are at increased risk of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide. However, research is lacking on coping strategies and treatment options that can be offered to suicidal HD mutation carriers. This study explores how individuals with pre-motor or motor symptomatic HD cope with suicidality, how their partners support them, and their ideas and wishes regarding how relatives and healthcare professionals can help them in coping with suicidality. This qualitative study included 11 HD mutation carriers who experienced suicidal ideation or attempted suicide and 3 of their partners. They participated in a focus group discussion or an individual in-depth interview. Two independent researchers fragmented the transcribed interviews, coded these fragments, grouped them under themes, and structured the data. HD study participants used four main strategies to cope with suicidality, including talking about suicidality, employing self-management activities, using medication, and discussing end-of-life wishes. Partners, relatives, and healthcare professionals can support suicidal HD mutation carriers in each of those four strategies. Despite the absence of a turnkey solution for suicidality in HD, healthcare professionals can play an important role in supporting suicidal HD mutation carriers by providing an opportunity to talk about suicidality, providing psychoeducation on self-management, prescribing medication, and discussing end-of-life wishes. Future HD-specific intervention studies could investigate the effect of combining these treatment strategies into one holistic approach.

  7. Defining the proximal border of the Huntington disease candidate region by multipoint recombination analyses

    SciT

    Skraastad, M.I.; De Rooij, K.E.; De Koning Gans, P.A.M.

    1993-06-01

    The candidate region for the Huntington disease (HD) gene has been narrowed down to a 2.2-Mb region between D4S10 and D4S98 on the short arm of chromosome 4. To map the HD gene within this candidate region 65 Dutch HD families were studied. In total 338 informative meioses were analyzed and 11 multiple informative crossovers were detected. Assuming a minimum number of recombinations and no double recombinations, the multiple informative crossovers are consistent with one specific genetic order for 12 loci: D4S10-(D4S81,D4S126)-D4S125-(D4S127,D4S95)-D4S43-(D4S115, D4S96, D4S111, D4S90, D4S141).This is in agreement with the known data derived from similar and other methods. Themore » loci between brackets could not be mapped relative to each other. In the family material, two informative three-point marker recombination events were detected in the proximal HD candidate region, which are also informative for HD. Both recombination events map the HD gene distal to D4S81 and most likely distal to D4S125, narrowing down the HD candidate region to a 1.7-Mb region between D4S125 and D4S98. 39 refs., 3 figs., 2 tabs.« less

  8. Chromosome jumping from D4S10 (G8) toward the Huntington disease gene

    SciT

    Richards, J.E.; Gilliam, T.C.; Cole, J.L.

    1988-09-01

    The gene for Huntington disease (HD) has been localized to the distal portion of the short arm of human chromosome 4 by linkage analysis. Currently, the two closest DNA markers are D4S10 (G8), located /approx/3 centimorgans centromeric to HD, and D4S43 (C4H), positioned 0-1.5 centimorgans from HD. In an effort to move closer to the HD gene, with the eventual goal of identifying the gene itself, the authors have applied the technique of chromosome jumping to this region. A 200-kilobase jumping library has been constructed, and a jump from D4S10 has been obtained and its approximate distance verified by pulsedmore » field gel electrophoresis. Two restriction fragment length polymorphisms have been identified at the jump locus, which is denoted D4S81. Linkage analysis of previously identified recombinants between D4S10 and HD or D4S10 and D4S43 shows that in two of five events the jump has crossed the recombination points. This unequivocally orients D4S10 and D4S81 on the chromosome, provides additional markers for HD, and suggests that recombination frequency in this region of chromosome 4 may be increased, so that the physical distance from D4S10 to HD may not be as large as originally suspected.« less

  9. siRNA screen identifies QPCT as a druggable target for Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Jimenez-Sanchez, Maria; Lam, Wun; Hannus, Michael; Sönnichsen, Birte; Imarisio, Sara; Fleming, Angeleen; Tarditi, Alessia; Menzies, Fiona; Dami, Teresa Ed; Xu, Catherine; Gonzalez-Couto, Eduardo; Lazzeroni, Giulia; Heitz, Freddy; Diamanti, Daniela; Massai, Luisa; Satagopam, Venkata P; Marconi, Guido; Caramelli, Chiara; Nencini, Arianna; Andreini, Matteo; Sardone, Gian Luca; Caradonna, Nicola P; Porcari, Valentina; Scali, Carla; Schneider, Reinhard; Pollio, Giuseppe; O'Kane, Cahir J; Caricasole, Andrea; Rubinsztein, David C

    2015-05-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a currently incurable neurodegenerative condition caused by an abnormally expanded polyglutamine tract in huntingtin (HTT). We identified new modifiers of mutant HTT toxicity by performing a large-scale 'druggable genome' siRNA screen in human cultured cells, followed by hit validation in Drosophila. We focused on glutaminyl cyclase (QPCT), which had one of the strongest effects on mutant HTT-induced toxicity and aggregation in the cell-based siRNA screen and also rescued these phenotypes in Drosophila. We found that QPCT inhibition induced the levels of the molecular chaperone αB-crystallin and reduced the aggregation of diverse proteins. We generated new QPCT inhibitors using in silico methods followed by in vitro screening, which rescued the HD-related phenotypes in cell, Drosophila and zebrafish HD models. Our data reveal a new HD druggable target affecting mutant HTT aggregation and provide proof of principle for a discovery pipeline from druggable genome screen to drug development.

  10. Nanopublications for exposing experimental data in the life-sciences: a Huntington's Disease case study.

    PubMed

    Mina, Eleni; Thompson, Mark; Kaliyaperumal, Rajaram; Zhao, Jun; der Horst, van Eelke; Tatum, Zuotian; Hettne, Kristina M; Schultes, Erik A; Mons, Barend; Roos, Marco

    2015-01-01

    Data from high throughput experiments often produce far more results than can ever appear in the main text or tables of a single research article. In these cases, the majority of new associations are often archived either as supplemental information in an arbitrary format or in publisher-independent databases that can be difficult to find. These data are not only lost from scientific discourse, but are also elusive to automated search, retrieval and processing. Here, we use the nanopublication model to make scientific assertions that were concluded from a workflow analysis of Huntington's Disease data machine-readable, interoperable, and citable. We followed the nanopublication guidelines to semantically model our assertions as well as their provenance metadata and authorship. We demonstrate interoperability by linking nanopublication provenance to the Research Object model. These results indicate that nanopublications can provide an incentive for researchers to expose data that is interoperable and machine-readable for future use and preservation for which they can get credits for their effort. Nanopublications can have a leading role into hypotheses generation offering opportunities to produce large-scale data integration.

  11. Seizures in juvenile Huntington's disease: frequency and characterization in a multicenter cohort.

    PubMed

    Cloud, Leslie J; Rosenblatt, Adam; Margolis, Russel L; Ross, Christopher A; Pillai, Jagan A; Corey-Bloom, Jody; Tully, Hannah M; Bird, Thomas; Panegyres, Peter K; Nichter, Charles A; Higgins, Donald S; Helmers, Sandra L; Factor, Stewart A; Jones, Randi; Testa, Claudia M

    2012-12-01

    Little is known about the epilepsy that often occurs in the juvenile form of Huntington's disease (HD), but is absent from the adult-onset form. The primary aim of this study was to characterize the seizures in juvenile HD (JHD) subjects with regard to frequency, semiology, defining EEG characteristics, and response to antiepileptic agents. A multicenter, retrospective cohort was identified by database query and/or chart review. Data on age of HD onset, primary HD manifestations, number of CAG repeats, the presence or absence of seizures, seizure type(s), antiepileptic drugs used, subjects' response to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and EEG results were assembled, where available. Ninety subjects with genetically confirmed JHD were included. Seizures were present in 38% of subjects and were more likely to occur with younger ages of HD onset. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures were the most common seizure type, followed by tonic, myoclonic, and staring spells. Multiple seizure types commonly occurred within the same individual. Data on EEG findings and AED usage are presented. Seizure risk in JHD increases with younger age of HD onset. Our ability to draw firm conclusions about defining EEG characteristics and response to AEDs was limited by the retrospective nature of the study. Future prospective studies are required. Copyright © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.

  12. Usefulness of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Gluhm, Shea; Goldstein, Jody; Brown, Daniel; Van Liew, Charles; Gilbert, Paul E; Corey-Bloom, Jody

    2013-10-01

    The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a brief screening instrument for dementia that is sensitive to executive dysfunction. This study examined its usefulness for assessing cognitive performance in mild, moderate, and severe Huntington's disease (HD), compared with the use of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). We compared MoCA and MMSE total scores and the number of correct answers in 5 cognitive-specific domains in 104 manifest HD patients and 100 matched controls. For the total HD sample, and for the moderate and severe patients, significant differences between both MoCA and MMSE total scores and almost all cognitive-specific domains emerged. Even mild HD subjects showed significant differences with regard to total score and several cognitive domains on both instruments. We conclude that the MoCA, although not necessarily superior to the MMSE, is a useful instrument for assessing cognitive performance over a broad level of functioning in HD. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society.

  13. Caregiving Youth Knowledge and Perceptions of Parental End-of-Life Wishes in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Kavanaugh, Melinda S; Noh, Hyunjin; Zhang, Lixia

    2016-01-01

    Knowledge of patient end-of-life (EOL) wishes and discussions are vital for family caregivers, including children and youth who may be in caregiving roles ("young carers" or "caregiving youth"). However, little is known about caregiving youth awareness and perceptions of EOL issues. This study sought to explore caregiving youth knowledge of EOL wishes and their willingness for EOL discussions. Face-to-face interviews with 40 caregiving youth ages 10-20, who have a parent with Huntington's disease (HD), provided information about their knowledge of the presence of their ill parent's living will (LW) and durable power of attorney for health care (DPAHC), and willingness to talk with the parent about EOL choices and possibility of death. Less than one-half of the participants were aware of the parent's LW or DPAHC. Content analysis revealed themes in reasons to want or not want EOL discussion with the parent: respect for the parent's wishes, caregiving youths' opinion not valued, and avoidance of EOL issues. Themes also included reasons to not want discussion with the parent about possibility of death: protecting the parent, parent in denial, parent not ready, and realization of the terminal outcome. Findings suggest HD patients and their caregiving youth need support for open EOL discussions, and could benefit from educational programs and support groups around EOL issues.

  14. Neurotrophin-3 restores synaptic plasticity in the striatum of a mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Pineda, Victor G; Torres-Cruz, Francisco M; Vivar-Cortés, César I; Hernández-Echeagaray, Elizabeth

    2018-04-01

    Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is expressed in the mouse striatum; however, it is not clear the NT-3 role in striatal physiology. The expression levels of mRNAs and immune localization of the NT-3 protein and its receptor TrkC are altered in the striatum following damage induced by an in vivo treatment with 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP), a mitochondrial toxin used to mimic the histopathological hallmarks of Huntington's disease (HD). The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of NT-3 on corticostriatal synaptic transmission and its plasticity in both the control and damaged striatum. Corticostriatal population spikes were electrophysiologically recorded and striatal synaptic plasticity was induced by high-frequency stimulation. Further, the phosphorylation status of Trk receptors was tested under conditions that imitated electrophysiological experiments. NT-3 modulates both synaptic transmission and plasticity in the striatum; nonetheless, synaptic plasticity was modified by the 3-NP treatment, where instead of producing striatal long-term depression (LTD), long-term potentiation (LTP) was obtained. Moreover, the administration of NT-3 in the recording bath restored the plasticity observed under control conditions (LTD) in this model of striatal degeneration. NT-3 modulates corticostriatal transmission through TrkB stimulation and restores striatal LTD by signaling through its TrkC receptor. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Beyond the patient: the broader impact of genetic discrimination among individuals at risk of Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Bombard, Yvonne; Palin, JoAnne; Friedman, Jan M; Veenstra, Gerry; Creighton, Susan; Bottorff, Joan L; Hayden, Michael R

    2012-03-01

    We aimed to address gaps in current understanding of the scope and impact of discrimination, by examining a cohort of individuals at-risk for Huntington disease (HD), to describe the prevalence of concern for oneself and one's family in multiple domains; strategies used to mitigate discrimination; and the extent to which concerns relate to experiences. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 293 individuals at-risk for HD (80% response rate); 167 respondents were genetically tested and 66 were not. Fear of discrimination was widespread (86%), particularly in the insurance, family and social settings. Approximately half of concerned individuals experienced discrimination (40-62%, depending on genetic status). Concern was associated with "keeping quiet" about one's risk of HD or "taking action to avoid" discrimination. Importantly, concern was highly distressing for some respondents (21% for oneself; 32% for relatives). Overall, concerned respondents with high education levels, who discovered their family history at a younger age, and those who were mutation-positive were more likely to report experiences of discrimination than others who were concerned. Concerns were rarely attributed to genetic test results alone. Concern about genetic discrimination is frequent among individuals at-risk of HD and spans many settings. It influences behavioral patterns and can result in high levels of self-rated distress, highlighting the need for practice and policy interventions. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Witchcraft and Huntington's disease: a salutary history of societal and medical stigmatisation.

    PubMed

    Loi, Samantha; Chiu, Edmond

    2012-10-01

    This paper examines the notions that psychiatry can be greatly influenced by what society considers as 'normal', and that psychiatric thoughts and beliefs ebb and flow according to history and the social and cultural values of the time. As part of the medical profession, psychiatrists have much power in determining treatment and outcomes for patients. Unfortunately, this also means psychiatry has also been involved with the darker aspects of humanity, such as during the Nazi regime, and the abuse of patients' human rights. Huntington's disease (HD) is a neuropsychiatric illness from which observation and little knowledge reported by the medical profession spanned decades of incorrect and sensationalised documentation, that was also influenced by the values of the time. Such was the atmosphere of society during this period that the ideas and notions regarding HD disseminated by the respected medical profession were believed and accepted as fact by the general population and other professions, who would have been ignorant of any other contrary information. We need to be aware of social and cultural values as these can influence our understanding of diagnoses and treatments of our patients.

  17. Families Affected by Huntington's Disease Report Difficulties in Communication, Emotional Involvement, and Problem Solving.

    PubMed

    Jona, Celine M H; Labuschagne, Izelle; Mercieca, Emily-Clare; Fisher, Fiona; Gluyas, Cathy; Stout, Julie C; Andrews, Sophie C

    2017-01-01

    Family functioning in Huntington's disease (HD) is known from previous studies to be adversely affected. However, which aspects of family functioning are disrupted is unknown, limiting the empirical basis around which to create supportive interventions. The aim of the current study was to assess family functioning in HD families. We assessed family functioning in 61 participants (38 HD gene-expanded participants and 23 family members) using the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD; Epstein, Baldwin and Bishop, 1983), which provides scores for seven domains of functioning: Problem Solving; Communication; Affective Involvement; Affective Responsiveness; Behavior Control; Roles; and General Family Functioning. The most commonly reported disrupted domain for HD participants was Affective Involvement, which was reported by 39.5% of HD participants, followed closely by General Family Functioning (36.8%). For family members, the most commonly reported dysfunctional domains were Affective Involvement and Communication (both 52.2%). Furthermore, symptomatic HD participants reported more disruption to Problem Solving than pre-symptomatic HD participants. In terms of agreement between pre-symptomatic and symptomatic HD participants and their family members, all domains showed moderate to very good agreement. However, on average, family members rated Communication as more disrupted than their HD affected family member. These findings highlight the need to target areas of emotional engagement, communication skills and problem solving in family interventions in HD.

  18. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, a bile acid, is neuroprotective in a transgenic animal model of Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Keene, C. Dirk; Rodrigues, Cecilia M. P.; Eich, Tacjana; Chhabra, Manik S.; Steer, Clifford J.; Low, Walter C.

    2002-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an untreatable neurological disorder caused by selective and progressive degeneration of the caudate nucleus and putamen of the basal ganglia. Although the etiology of HD pathology is not fully understood, the observed loss of neuronal cells is thought to occur primarily through apoptosis. Furthermore, there is evidence in HD that cell death is mediated through mitochondrial pathways, and mitochondrial deficits are commonly associated with HD. We have previously reported that treatment with tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a hydrophilic bile acid, prevented neuropathology and associated behavioral deficits in the 3-nitropropionic acid rat model of HD. We therefore examined whether TUDCA would also be neuroprotective in a genetic mouse model of HD. Our results showed that systemically administered TUDCA led to a significant reduction in striatal neuropathology of the R6/2 transgenic HD mouse. Specifically, R6/2 mice began receiving TUDCA at 6 weeks of age and exhibited reduced striatal atrophy, decreased striatal apoptosis, as well as fewer and smaller size ubiquitinated neuronal intranuclear huntingtin inclusions. Moreover, locomotor and sensorimotor deficits were significantly improved in the TUDCA-treated mice. In conclusion, TUDCA is a nontoxic, endogenously produced hydrophilic bile acid that is neuroprotective in a transgenic mouse model of HD and, therefore, may provide a novel and effective treatment in patients with HD. PMID:12149470

  19. ATRX induction by mutant huntingtin via Cdx2 modulates heterochromatin condensation and pathology in Huntington's disease

    PubMed Central

    Lee, J; Hong, Y K; Jeon, G S; Hwang, Y J; Kim, K Y; Seong, K H; Jung, M-K; Picketts, D J; Kowall, N W; Cho, K S; Ryu, H

    2012-01-01

    Aberrant chromatin remodeling is involved in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease (HD) but the mechanism is not known. Herein, we report that mutant huntingtin (mtHtt) induces the transcription of alpha thalassemia/mental retardation X linked (ATRX), an ATPase/helicase and SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodeling protein via Cdx-2 activation. ATRX expression was elevated in both a cell line model and transgenic model of HD, and Cdx-2 occupancy of the ATRX promoter was increased in HD. Induction of ATRX expanded the size of promyelocytic leukemia nuclear body (PML-NB) and increased trimethylation of H3K9 (H3K9me3) and condensation of pericentromeric heterochromatin, while knockdown of ATRX decreased PML-NB and H3K9me3 levels. Knockdown of ATRX/dXNP improved the hatch rate of fly embryos expressing mtHtt (Q127). ATRX/dXNP overexpression exacerbated eye degeneration of eye-specific mtHtt (Q127) expressing flies. Our findings suggest that transcriptional alteration of ATRX by mtHtt is involved in pericentromeric heterochromatin condensation and contributes to the pathogenesis of HD. PMID:22240898

  20. The challenge of juvenile Huntington disease: to test or not to test.

    PubMed

    Koutsis, Georgios; Karadima, Georgia; Kladi, Athina; Panas, Marios

    2013-03-12

    In a cohort of patients with suspected juvenile-onset Huntington disease (HD), we compared HD expansion-positive and -negative cases in order to identify parameters that may allow differentiating between them and may act as a guide to clinicians contemplating genetic testing. We analyzed the clinical and genetic characteristics of 76 juvenile-onset patients referred consecutively for HD genetic testing over a 16-year period. In total, 24 patients were positive for the HD expansion (7.8% of our HD cohort). Mean age at onset of expanded cases was similar to unexpanded cases. All expanded cases had a family history of genetically confirmed HD compared to only 13.5% of unexpanded cases (p = 0.000). Clinical symptoms at onset or at presentation could not differentiate between expanded and unexpanded patients. Although criteria suggested by previous reports allowed statistical differentiation between the 2 groups, they were not sufficiently sensitive and specific to be used in clinical context and performed less satisfactorily than presence of a family history of HD alone. A diagnosis of juvenile HD should be primarily contemplated in symptomatic children with a family history of HD, although a proportion of these will test negative. With no family history of HD, juvenile HD is very unlikely and genetic testing should never delay searching for other causes. The specific nature of symptoms at onset or at presentation is of limited value in guiding the decision to test or not to test.

  1. From mild ataxia to huntington disease phenocopy: the multiple faces of spinocerebellar ataxia 17.

    PubMed

    Koutsis, Georgios; Panas, Marios; Paraskevas, George P; Bougea, Anastasia M; Kladi, Athina; Karadima, Georgia; Kapaki, Elisabeth

    2014-01-01

    Introduction. Spinocerebellar ataxia 17 (SCA 17) is a rare autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia (ADCA) caused by a CAG/CAA expansion in the TBP gene, reported from a limited number of countries. It is a very heterogeneous ADCA characterized by ataxia, cognitive decline, psychiatric symptoms, and involuntary movements, with some patients presenting with Huntington disease (HD) phenocopies. The SCA 17 expansion is stable during parent-child transmission and intrafamilial phenotypic homogeneity has been reported. However, significant phenotypic variability within families has also been observed. Report of the Family. We presently report a Greek family with a pathological expansion of 54 repeats at the SCA 17 locus that displayed remarkable phenotypic variability. Among 3 affected members, one presented with HD phenocopy; one with progressive ataxia, dementia, chorea, dystonia, and seizures, and one with mild slowly progressive ataxia with minor cognitive and affective symptoms. Conclusions. This is the first family with SCA 17 identified in Greece and highlights the multiple faces of this rare disorder, even within the same family.

  2. From Mild Ataxia to Huntington Disease Phenocopy: The Multiple Faces of Spinocerebellar Ataxia 17

    PubMed Central

    Panas, Marios; Paraskevas, George P.; Bougea, Anastasia M.; Karadima, Georgia; Kapaki, Elisabeth

    2014-01-01

    Introduction. Spinocerebellar ataxia 17 (SCA 17) is a rare autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia (ADCA) caused by a CAG/CAA expansion in the TBP gene, reported from a limited number of countries. It is a very heterogeneous ADCA characterized by ataxia, cognitive decline, psychiatric symptoms, and involuntary movements, with some patients presenting with Huntington disease (HD) phenocopies. The SCA 17 expansion is stable during parent-child transmission and intrafamilial phenotypic homogeneity has been reported. However, significant phenotypic variability within families has also been observed. Report of the Family. We presently report a Greek family with a pathological expansion of 54 repeats at the SCA 17 locus that displayed remarkable phenotypic variability. Among 3 affected members, one presented with HD phenocopy; one with progressive ataxia, dementia, chorea, dystonia, and seizures, and one with mild slowly progressive ataxia with minor cognitive and affective symptoms. Conclusions. This is the first family with SCA 17 identified in Greece and highlights the multiple faces of this rare disorder, even within the same family. PMID:25349749

  3. Dysregulation of mitochondrial calcium signaling and superoxide flashes cause mitochondrial genomic DNA damage in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jiu-Qiang; Chen, Qian; Wang, Xianhua; Wang, Qiao-Chu; Wang, Yun; Cheng, He-Ping; Guo, Caixia; Sun, Qinmiao; Chen, Quan; Tang, Tie-Shan

    2013-02-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited, fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive loss of striatal medium spiny neurons. Indications of oxidative stress are apparent in brain tissues from both HD patients and HD mouse models; however, the origin of this oxidant stress remains a mystery. Here, we used a yeast artificial chromosome transgenic mouse model of HD (YAC128) to investigate the potential connections between dysregulation of cytosolic Ca(2+) signaling and mitochondrial oxidative damage in HD cells. We found that YAC128 mouse embryonic fibroblasts exhibit a strikingly higher level of mitochondrial matrix Ca(2+) loading and elevated superoxide generation compared with WT cells, indicating that both mitochondrial Ca(2+) signaling and superoxide generation are dysregulated in HD cells. The excessive mitochondrial oxidant stress is critically dependent on mitochondrial Ca(2+) loading in HD cells, because blocking mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake abolished elevated superoxide generation. Similar results were obtained using neurons from HD model mice and fibroblast cells from HD patients. More importantly, mitochondrial Ca(2+) loading in HD cells caused a 2-fold higher level of mitochondrial genomic DNA (mtDNA) damage due to the excessive oxidant generation. This study provides strong evidence to support a new causal link between dysregulated mitochondrial Ca(2+) signaling, elevated mitochondrial oxidant stress, and mtDNA damage in HD. Our results also indicate that reducing mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake could be a therapeutic strategy for HD.

  4. β-Defensin genomic copy number does not influence the age of onset in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Vittori, Angelica; Orth, Michael; Roos, Raymund A C; Outeiro, Tiago F; Giorgini, Flaviano; Hollox, Edward J

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the abnormal expansion of a CAG triplet repeat tract in the huntingtin gene. While the length of this CAG expansion is the major determinant of the age of onset (AO), other genetic factors have also been shown to play a modulatory role. Recent evidence suggests that neuroinflammations is a pivotal factor in the pathogenesis of HD, and that targeting this process may have important therapeutic ramifications. The human β-defensin 2 (hBD2)- encoded by DEFB4- is an antimicrobial peptide that exhibits inducible expression in astrocytes during inflammation and is an important regulator of innate and adaptive immune response. Therefore, DEFB4 may contribute to the neuroinflammatory processes observed in HD. In this study we tested the hypothesis that copy number variation (CNV) of the β-defensin region, including DEFB4, modifies the AO in HD. We genotyped β-defensin CNV in 490 HD individuals using the paralogue ratio test and found no association between β-defensin CNV and onset of HD. We conclude that it is unlikely that DEFB4 plays a role in HD pathogenesis.

  5. The targetable A1 Huntington disease haplotype has distinct Amerindian and European origins in Latin America

    PubMed Central

    Kay, Chris; Tirado-Hurtado, Indira; Cornejo-Olivas, Mario; Collins, Jennifer A; Wright, Galen; Inca-Martinez, Miguel; Veliz-Otani, Diego; Ketelaar, Maria E; Slama, Ramy A; Ross, Colin J; Mazzetti, Pilar; Hayden, Michael R

    2017-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is a dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene. HD occurs worldwide, but the causative mutation is found on different HTT haplotypes in distinct ethnic groups. In Latin America, HD is thought to have European origins, but indigenous Amerindian ancestry has not been investigated. Here, we report dense HTT haplotypes in 62 mestizo Peruvian HD families, 17 HD families from across Latin America, and 42 controls of defined Peruvian Amerindian ethnicity to determine the origin of HD in populations of admixed Amerindian and European descent. HD in Peru occurs most frequently on the A1 HTT haplotype (73%), as in Europe, but on an unexpected indigenous variant also found in Amerindian controls. This Amerindian A1 HTT haplotype predominates over the European A1 variant among geographically disparate Latin American controls and in HD families from across Latin America, supporting an indigenous origin of the HD mutation in mestizo American populations. We also show that a proportion of HD mutations in Peru occur on a C1 HTT haplotype of putative Amerindian origin (14%). The majority of HD mutations in Latin America may therefore occur on haplotypes of Amerindian ancestry rather than on haplotypes resulting from European admixture. Despite the distinct ethnic ancestry of Amerindian and European A1 HTT, alleles on the parent A1 HTT haplotype allow for development of identical antisense molecules to selectively silence the HD mutation in the greatest proportion of patients in both Latin American and European populations. PMID:28000697

  6. Protective Effect of Antioxidants on Neuronal Dysfunction and Plasticity in Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Velusamy, Thirunavukkarasu; Panneerselvam, Archana S.; Purushottam, Meera; Anusuyadevi, Muthuswamy; Pal, Pramod Kumar; Jain, Sanjeev; Essa, Musthafa Mohamed

    2017-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is characterised by movement disorders, cognitive impairments, and psychiatric problems. The abnormal generation of reactive oxygen species and the resulting oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial damage in neurons upon CAG mutations in the HTT gene have been hypothesized as the contributing factors of neurodegeneration in HD. The potential use of antioxidants against free radical toxicity has been an emerging field in the management of ageing and many neurodegenerative disorders. Neural stem cells derived adult neurogenesis represents the regenerative capacity of the adult brain. The process of adult neurogenesis has been implicated in the cognitive functions of the brain and is highly modulated positively by different factors including antioxidants. The supportive role of antioxidants to reduce the severity of HD via promoting the functional neurogenesis and neuroprotection in the pathological adult brain has great promise. This review comprehends the recent studies describing the therapeutic roles of antioxidants in HD and other neurologic disorders and highlights the scope of using antioxidants to promote adult neurogenesis in HD. It also advocates a new line of research to delineate the mechanisms by which antioxidants promote adult neurogenesis in HD. PMID:28168008

  7. Engagement with genetic discrimination: concerns and experiences in the context of Huntington disease

    PubMed Central

    Bombard, Yvonne; Penziner, Elizabeth; Suchowersky, Oksana; Guttman, Mark; Paulsen, Jane S; Bottorff, Joan L; Hayden, Michael R

    2013-01-01

    It has been over 20 years since the inception of predictive testing for Huntington disease (HD), yet the social implications of knowing one's genetic risk for HD have not been fully explored. Genetic discrimination (GD) is a potential risk associated with predictive testing. Although anecdotal reports of GD have been documented, there is a paucity of research on the nature and experiences of GD in the context of HD. The purpose of this study was to describe the concerns and experiences of GD in the HD community. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 45 genetically tested and 10 untested individuals and analyzed using grounded theory methods. Our findings demonstrate that a majority of individuals were concerned about (37/55) and experienced GD (32/55) across a variety of contexts that extend beyond the traditionally examined contexts of insurance and employment to include family, social, government, and health-care domains. We describe a process of engagement with GD in which individuals formed meaningful interpretations of GD and personalized its risk and consequences in their lives. Our findings provide an insight into some of the specific processes and factors influencing engagement with GD. These results help identify areas where more education and support is needed and provide direction to genetic professionals supporting their clients as they confront issues of GD and genetic testing. PMID:17957229

  8. A Case of Attempted Suicide in Huntington's Disease: Ethical and Moral Considerations.

    PubMed

    Furfari, Kristin; Zehnder, Nichole; Abbott, Jean

    2016-01-01

    A 62-year-old female with Huntington's disease presented after a suicide attempt. Her advance directive stated that she did not want intubation or resuscitation, which her family acknowledged and supported. Despite these directives, she was resuscitated in the emergency department and continued to state that she would attempt suicide again. Her suicidality in the face of a chronic and advancing illness, and her prolonged consistency in her desire to take her own life, left careproviders wondering how to provide ethical, respectful care to this patient. Tension between the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence is central in this case. The patient's narrative demonstrated that her suicide was an autonomous decision, free from coercion or disordered thinking from mental illness. Beneficence then would seem to necessitate care aligned with the patient's desire to end her life, which created ethical uneasiness for her family and careproviders. The case highlights several end-of-life ethical considerations that have received much recent attention. With ongoing discussions about the legalization of aid in dying across the country, caregivers are challenged to understand what beneficence means in people with terminal illnesses who want a say in their death. This case also highlights the profound moral distress of families and careproviders that arises in such ethically challenging scenarios. Copyright 2016 The Journal of Clinical Ethics. All rights reserved.

  9. The impact of different types of assistive devices on gait measures and safety in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Kloos, Anne D; Kegelmeyer, Deborah A; White, Susan E; Kostyk, Sandra K

    2012-01-01

    Gait and balance impairments lead to frequent falls and injuries in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD). Assistive devices (ADs) such as canes and walkers are often prescribed to prevent falls, but their efficacy is unknown. We systematically examined the effects of different types of ADs on quantitative gait measures during walking in a straight path and around obstacles. Spatial and temporal gait parameters were measured in 21 subjects with HD as they walked across a GAITRite walkway under 7 conditions (i.e., using no AD and 6 commonly prescribed ADs: a cane, a weighted cane, a standard walker, and a 2, 3 or 4 wheeled walker). Subjects also were timed and observed for number of stumbles and falls while walking around two obstacles in a figure-of-eight pattern. Gait measure variability (i.e., coefficient of variation), an indicator of fall risk, was consistently better when using the 4WW compared to other ADs. Subjects also walked the fastest and had the fewest number of stumbles and falls when using the 4WW in the figure-of-eight course. Subjects walked significantly slower using ADs compared to no AD both across the GAITRite and in the figure-of-eight. Measures reflecting gait stability and safety improved with the 4WW but were made worse by some other ADs.

  10. The Impact of Different Types of Assistive Devices on Gait Measures and Safety in Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    White, Susan E.; Kostyk, Sandra K.

    2012-01-01

    Background Gait and balance impairments lead to frequent falls and injuries in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD). Assistive devices (ADs) such as canes and walkers are often prescribed to prevent falls, but their efficacy is unknown. We systematically examined the effects of different types of ADs on quantitative gait measures during walking in a straight path and around obstacles. Methods Spatial and temporal gait parameters were measured in 21 subjects with HD as they walked across a GAITRite walkway under 7 conditions (i.e., using no AD and 6 commonly prescribed ADs: a cane, a weighted cane, a standard walker, and a 2, 3 or 4 wheeled walker). Subjects also were timed and observed for number of stumbles and falls while walking around two obstacles in a figure-of-eight pattern. Results Gait measure variability (i.e., coefficient of variation), an indicator of fall risk, was consistently better when using the 4WW compared to other ADs. Subjects also walked the fastest and had the fewest number of stumbles and falls when using the 4WW in the figure-of-eight course. Subjects walked significantly slower using ADs compared to no AD both across the GAITRite and in the figure-of-eight. Measures reflecting gait stability and safety improved with the 4WW but were made worse by some other ADs. PMID:22363511

  11. The role of oxidative stress in Huntington's disease: are antioxidants good therapeutic candidates?

    PubMed

    Gil-Mohapel, Joana; Brocardo, Patricia S; Christie, Brian R

    2014-04-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is the most common polyglutamine neurodegenerative disorder in humans, and is caused by a mutation of an unstable expansion of CAG repeats within the coding region of the HD gene, which expresses the protein huntingtin. Although abnormal protein is ubiquitously expressed throughout the organism, cell degeneration occurs mainly in the brain, and there, predominantly in the striatum and cortex. The mechanisms that account for this selective neuronal death are multifaceted in nature and several lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction, overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress (an imbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant systems resulting in oxidative damage to proteins, lipids and DNA) might play important roles. Over time, this can result in the death of the affected neuronal populations. In this review article we present an overview of the preclinical and clinical studies that have indicated a link between oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and cell death in HD. We also discuss how changes in ROS production affect neuronal survival, highlighting the evidence for the use of antioxidants including essential fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and creatine, as potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder.

  12. Personal Factors Associated with Reported Benefits of Huntington Disease Family History or Genetic Testing

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Janet K.; Erwin, Cheryl; Juhl, Andrew; Mills, James; Brossman, Bradley

    2010-01-01

    Aims: A family history of Huntington disease (HD) or receiving results of HD predictive genetic testing can influence individual well-being, family relationships, and social interactions in positive and negative ways. The aim of this study was to examine benefits reported by people with an HD family history or those who have undergone predictive HD testing, as well as the personal variables associated with perceived benefits. Methods: Seventy-four of 433 people completing the International Response of a Sample Population to HD risk (I-RESPOND-HD) survey reported benefits. Knowledge and understanding was perceived as the most common benefit from participants in both groups. The next most frequent perceived benefits from a family history were connecting with others and achieving life meaning and insights. The next most common perceived benefits from genetic testing were life planning and social support. The least common perceived benefit for both groups was renewed hope and optimism. Older age and spirituality were significantly associated with benefits in both groups. Conclusions: Perceptions of benefit may not be as likely until later years in people with prodromal HD. A developed sense of spirituality is identified as a personal resource associated with the perception of benefit from genetic testing for HD. Associations among spirituality, perceived benefits, and other indicators of personal and family well-being may be useful in genetic counseling and health care of people with prodromal HD. PMID:20722493

  13. Echolalia or functional repetition in conversation--a case study of an individual with Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Saldert, Charlotta; Hartelius, Lena

    2011-01-01

    In this case study, we investigated the use of repetition in an individual with a neurogenic communication disorder. We present an analysis of interaction in natural conversations between a woman with advanced Huntington's disease (HD), whose speech had been described as sometimes characterised by echolalia, and her personal assistant. The conversational interaction is analysed on a sequential level, and recurrent patterns are explored. Although the ability of the person with HD to interact is affected by chorea, word retrieval problems and reduced comprehension, she takes an active part in conversation. The conversational partner's contributions are often adapted to her communicative ability as they are formulated as questions or suggestions that can be elaborated on or responded to with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. The person with HD often repeats the words of her conversational partner in a way that extends her contributions and shows listenership, and this use of repetition is also frequent in ordinary conversations between non-brain-damaged individuals. The results show that the conversation partners in this case cooperate in making the conversation proceed and evolve, and that verbal repetition is used in a way that works as a strategy for compensating for the impairment.

  14. Disruption of astrocyte-neuron cholesterol cross talk affects neuronal function in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Valenza, M; Marullo, M; Di Paolo, E; Cesana, E; Zuccato, C; Biella, G; Cattaneo, E

    2015-04-01

    In the adult brain, neurons require local cholesterol production, which is supplied by astrocytes through apoE-containing lipoproteins. In Huntington's disease (HD), such cholesterol biosynthesis in the brain is severely reduced. Here we show that this defect, occurring in astrocytes, is detrimental for HD neurons. Astrocytes bearing the huntingtin protein containing increasing CAG repeats secreted less apoE-lipoprotein-bound cholesterol in the medium. Conditioned media from HD astrocytes and lipoprotein-depleted conditioned media from wild-type (wt) astrocytes were equally detrimental in a neurite outgrowth assay and did not support synaptic activity in HD neurons, compared with conditions of cholesterol supplementation or conditioned media from wt astrocytes. Molecular perturbation of cholesterol biosynthesis and efflux in astrocytes caused similarly altered astrocyte-neuron cross talk, whereas enhancement of glial SREBP2 and ABCA1 function reversed the aspects of neuronal dysfunction in HD. These findings indicate that astrocyte-mediated cholesterol homeostasis could be a potential therapeutic target to ameliorate neuronal dysfunction in HD.

  15. Therapeutic Effects of Anthocyanins and Environmental Enrichment in R6/1 Huntington's Disease Mice.

    PubMed

    Kreilaus, Fabian; Spiro, Adena S; Hannan, Anthony J; Garner, Brett; Jenner, Andrew M

    2016-10-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatment or cure. Environmental enrichment has been used to slow processes leading to ageing and neurodegenerative diseases including HD. Phenolic phytochemicals including anthocyanins have also been shown to improve brain function in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. This study examined the effects of anthocyanin dietary supplementation and environmental enrichment on behavioural phenotypes and brain cholesterol metabolic alterations in the R6/1 mouse model of HD. R6/1 HD mice and their wild-type littermate controls were randomised into the different experimental conditions, involving either environmentally enriched versus standard housing conditions, or anthocyanin versus control diet. Motor dysfunction was assessed from 6 to 26 weeks using the RotaRod and the hind-paw clasping tests. Gas chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry was used to quantify a broad range of sterols in the striatum and cortex of R6/1 HD mice. Anthocyanin dietary supplementation delayed the onset of motor dysfunction in female HD mice. Environmental enrichment improved motor function and the hind paw clasping phenotype in male HD mice only. These mice also had lower levels of cholesterol oxidation products in the cortex compared to standard-housed mice. Both anthocyanin supplementation and environmental enrichment are able to improve the motor dysfunction phenotype of R6/1 mice, however the effectiveness of these interventions was different between the two sexes. The interventions examined did not alter brain cholesterol metabolic deficits that have been reported previously in this mouse model of HD.

  16. Antisense oligonucleotide-mediated correction of transcriptional dysregulation is correlated with behavioral benefits in the YAC128 mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Stanek, Lisa M; Yang, Wendy; Angus, Stuart; Sardi, Pablo S; Hayden, Michael R; Hung, Gene H; Bennett, C Frank; Cheng, Seng H; Shihabuddin, Lamya S

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurological disorder caused by mutations in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, the product of which leads to selective and progressive neuronal cell death in the striatum and cortex. Transcriptional dysregulation has emerged as a core pathologic feature in the CNS of human and animal models of HD. It is still unclear whether perturbations in gene expression are a consequence of the disease or importantly, contribute to the pathogenesis of HD. To examine if transcriptional dysregulation can be ameliorated with antisense oligonucleotides that reduce levels of mutant Htt and provide therapeutic benefit in the YAC128 mouse model of HD. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis was used to evaluate dysregulation of a subset of striatal genes in the YAC128 mouse model. Transcripts were then evaluated following ICV delivery of antisense oligonucleotides (ASO). Rota rod and Porsolt swim tests were used to evaluate phenotypic deficits in these mice following ASO treatment. Transcriptional dysregulation was detected in the YAC128 mouse model and appears to progress with age. ICV delivery of ASOs directed against mutant Htt resulted in reduction in mutant Htt levels and amelioration in behavioral deficits in the YAC128 mouse model. These improvements were correlated with improvements in the levels of several dysregulated striatal transcripts. The role of transcriptional dysregulation in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease is not well understood, however, a wealth of evidence now strongly suggests that changes in transcriptional signatures are a prominent feature in the brains of both HD patients and animal models of the disease. Our study is the first to show that a therapeutic agent capable of improving an HD disease phenotype is concomitantly correlated with normalization of a subset of dysregulated striatal transcripts. Our data suggests that correction of these disease-altered transcripts may underlie, at least in part, the therapeutic efficacy

  17. Brain Cholesterol Synthesis and Metabolism is Progressively Disturbed in the R6/1 Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease: A Targeted GC-MS/MS Sterol Analysis.

    PubMed

    Kreilaus, Fabian; Spiro, Adena S; Hannan, Anthony J; Garner, Brett; Jenner, Andrew M

    2015-01-01

    Cholesterol has essential functions in neurological processes that require tight regulation of synthesis and metabolism. Perturbed cholesterol homeostasis has been demonstrated in Huntington's disease, however the exact role of these changes in disease pathogenesis is not fully understood. This study aimed to comprehensively examine changes in cholesterol biosynthetic precursors, metabolites and oxidation products in the striatum and cortex of the R6/1 transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease. We also aimed to characterise the progression of the physical phenotype in these mice. GC-MS/MS was used to quantify a broad range of sterols in the striatum and cortex of R6/1 and wild type mice at 6, 12, 20, 24 and 28 weeks of age. Motor dysfunction was assessed over 28 weeks using the RotaRod and the hind-paw clasping tests. 24(S)-Hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol were the major cholesterol metabolites that significantly changed in R6/1 mice. These changes were specifically localised to the striatum and were detected at the end stages of the disease. Cholesterol synthetic precursors (lathosterol and lanosterol) were significantly reduced in the cortex and striatum by 6 weeks of age, prior to the onset of motor dysfunction, as well as the cognitive and affective abnormalities previously reported. Elevated levels of desmosterol, a substrate of delta(24)-sterol reductase (DHCR24), were also detected in R6/1 mice at the end time-point. Female R6/1 mice exhibited a milder weight loss and hind paw clasping phenotype compared to male R6/1 mice, however, no difference in the brain sterol profile was detected between sexes. Several steps in cholesterol biosynthetic and metabolic pathways are differentially altered in the R6/1 mouse brain as the disease progresses and this is most severe in the striatum. This provides further insights into early molecular mediators of HD onset and disease progression and identifies candidate molecular targets for novel therapeutic

  18. Reliability and minimal detectable change of physical performance measures in individuals with pre-manifest and manifest Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Quinn, Lori; Khalil, Hanan; Dawes, Helen; Fritz, Nora E; Kegelmeyer, Deb; Kloos, Anne D; Gillard, Jonathan W; Busse, Monica

    2013-07-01

    Clinical intervention trials in people with Huntington disease (HD) have been limited by a lack of reliable and appropriate outcome measures. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and minimal detectable change (MDC) of various outcome measures that are potentially suitable for evaluating physical functioning in individuals with HD. This was a multicenter, prospective, observational study. Participants with pre-manifest and manifest HD (early, middle, and late stages) were recruited from 8 international sites to complete a battery of physical performance and functional measures at 2 assessments, separated by 1 week. Test-retest reliability (using intraclass correlation coefficients) and MDC values were calculated for all measures. Seventy-five individuals with HD (mean age=52.12 years, SD=11.82) participated in the study. Test-retest reliability was very high (>.90) for participants with manifest HD for the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), 10-Meter Walk Test, Timed "Up & Go" Test (TUG), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Physical Performance Test (PPT), Barthel Index, Rivermead Mobility Index, and Tinetti Mobility Test (TMT). Many MDC values suggested a relatively high degree of inherent variability, particularly in the middle stage of HD. Minimum detectable change values for participants with manifest HD that were relatively low across disease stages were found for the BBS (5), PPT (5), and TUG (2.98). For individuals with pre-manifest HD (n=11), the 6MWT and Four Square Step Test had high reliability and low MDC values. The sample size for the pre-manifest HD group was small. The BBS, PPT, and TUG appear most appropriate for clinical trials aimed at improving physical functioning in people with manifest HD. Further research in people with pre-manifest HD is necessary.

  19. Voluntary saccade inhibition deficits correlate with extended white-matter cortico-basal atrophy in Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Vaca-Palomares, Israel; Coe, Brian C; Brien, Donald C; Munoz, Douglas P; Fernandez-Ruiz, Juan

    2017-01-01

    The ability to inhibit automatic versus voluntary saccade commands in demanding situations can be impaired in neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease (HD). These deficits could result from disruptions in the interaction between basal ganglia and the saccade control system. To investigate voluntary oculomotor control deficits related to the cortico-basal circuitry, we evaluated early HD patients using an interleaved pro- and anti-saccade task that requires flexible executive control to generate either an automatic response (look at a peripheral visual stimulus) or a voluntary response (look away from the stimulus in the opposite direction). The impairments of HD patients in this task are mainly attributed to degeneration in the striatal medium spiny neurons leading to an over-activation of the indirect-pathway thorough the basal ganglia. However, some studies have proposed that damage outside the indirect-pathway also contribute to executive and saccade deficits. We used the interleaved pro- and anti-saccade task to study voluntary saccade inhibition deficits, Voxel-based morphometry and Tract-based spatial statistic to map cortico-basal ganglia circuitry atrophy in HD. HD patients had voluntary saccade inhibition control deficits, including increased regular-latency anti-saccade errors and increased anticipatory saccades. These deficits correlated with white-matter atrophy in the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, anterior corona radiata and superior longitudinal fasciculus. These findings suggest that cortico-basal ganglia white-matter atrophy in HD, disrupts the normal connectivity in a network controlling voluntary saccade inhibitory behavior beyond the indirect-pathway. This suggests that in vivo measures of white-matter atrophy can be a reliable marker of the progression of cognitive deficits in HD.

  20. Genome-wide increase in histone H2A ubiquitylation in a mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    McFarland, Karen N; Das, Sudeshna; Sun, Ting Ting; Leyfer, Dmitri; Kim, Mee-Ohk; Xia, Eva; Sangrey, Gavin R; Kuhn, Alexandre; Luthi-Carter, Ruth; Clark, Timothy W; Sadri-Vakili, Ghazaleh; Cha, Jang-Ho J

    2013-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with selective vulnerability of striatal neurons and involves extensive transcriptional dysregulation early in the disease process. Previous work in cell and mouse models has shown that histone modifications are altered in HD. Specifically, monoubiquitylated histone H2A (uH2A) is present at the promoters of downregulated genes which led to the hypothesis that uH2A plays a role in transcriptional silencing in HD. To broaden our view of uH2A function in transcription in HD, we examined genome-wide binding sites of uH2A in 12-week old striatal tissue from R6/2 transgenic HD mouse model. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by genomic promoter microarray hybridization (ChIP-chip) and then interrogated how these binding sites correlate with transcribed genes. Our analysis reveals that, while uH2A levels are globally increased at the genome in the transgenic (TG) striatum, uH2A localization at a gene did not strongly correlate with the absence of its transcript. Furthermore, analysis of differential ubiquitylation in wild-type (WT) and TG striata did not reveal the expected enrichment of uH2A at genes with decreased expression in the TG striatum. This first description of genome-wide localization of uH2A in an HD model reveals that monoubiquitylation of histone H2A may not function at the level of the individual gene but may rather influence transcription through global chromatin structure.

  1. Evaluation of multi-modal, multi-site neuroimaging measures in Huntington's disease: Baseline results from the PADDINGTON study☆

    PubMed Central

    Hobbs, Nicola Z.; Cole, James H.; Farmer, Ruth E.; Rees, Elin M.; Crawford, Helen E.; Malone, Ian B.; Roos, Raymund A.C.; Sprengelmeyer, Reiner; Durr, Alexandra; Landwehrmeyer, Bernhard; Scahill, Rachael I.; Tabrizi, Sarah J.; Frost, Chris

    2012-01-01

    Background Macro- and micro-structural neuroimaging measures provide valuable information on the pathophysiology of Huntington's disease (HD) and are proposed as biomarkers. Despite theoretical advantages of microstructural measures in terms of sensitivity to pathology, there is little evidence directly comparing the two. Methods 40 controls and 61 early HD subjects underwent 3 T MRI (T1- and diffusion-weighted), as part of the PADDINGTON study. Macrostructural volumetrics were obtained for the whole brain, caudate, putamen, corpus callosum (CC) and ventricles. Microstructural diffusion metrics of fractional anisotropy (FA), mean-, radial- and axial-diffusivity (MD, RD, AD) were computed for white matter (WM), CC, caudate and putamen. Group differences were examined adjusting for age, gender and site. A formal comparison of effect sizes determined which modality and metrics provided a statistically significant advantage over others. Results Macrostructural measures showed decreased regional and global volume in HD (p < 0.001); except the ventricles which were enlarged (p < 0.01). In HD, FA was increased in the deep grey-matter structures (p < 0.001), and decreased in the WM (CC, p = 0.035; WM, p = 0.053); diffusivity metrics (MD, RD, AD) were increased for all brain regions (p < 0.001). The largest effect sizes were for putamen volume, caudate volume and putamen diffusivity (AD, RD and MD); each was significantly larger than those for all other metrics (p < 0.05). Conclusion The highest performing macro- and micro-structural metrics had similar sensitivity to HD pathology quantified via effect sizes. Region-of-interest may be more important than imaging modality, with deep grey-matter regions outperforming the CC and global measures, for both volume and diffusivity. FA appears to be relatively insensitive to disease effects. PMID:24179770

  2. Exploratory 7-Tesla magnetic resonance spectroscopy in Huntington's disease provides in vivo evidence for impaired energy metabolism.

    PubMed

    van den Bogaard, Simon J A; Dumas, Eve M; Teeuwisse, Wouter M; Kan, Hermien E; Webb, Andrew; Roos, Raymund A C; van der Grond, Jeroen

    2011-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects the brain. Atrophy of deep grey matter structures has been reported and it is likely that underlying pathologic processes occur before, or in concurrence with, volumetric changes. Measurement of metabolite concentrations in these brain structures has the potential to provide insight into pathological processes. We aim to gain understanding of metabolite changes with respect to the disease stage and pathophysiological changes. We studied five brain regions using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) using a 7-Tesla MRI scanner. Localized proton spectra were acquired to obtain six metabolite concentrations. MRS was performed in the caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus, hypothalamus, and frontal lobe in 44 control subjects, premanifest gene carriers and manifest HD. In the caudate nucleus, HD patients display lower NAA (p = 0.009) and lower creatine concentration (p = 0.001) as compared to controls. In the putamen, manifest HD patients show lower NAA (p = 0.024), lower creatine concentration (p = 0.027), and lower glutamate (p = 0.013). Although absolute values of NAA, creatine, and glutamate were lower, no significant differences to controls were found in the premanifest gene carriers. The lower concentrations of NAA and creatine in the caudate nucleus and putamen of early manifest HD suggest deficits in neuronal integrity and energy metabolism. The changes in glutamate could support the excitotoxicity theory. These findings not only give insight into neuropathological changes in HD but also indicate that MRS can possibly be applied in future clinical trails to evaluate medication targeted at specific metabolic processes.

  3. Myotonic Dystrophy and Huntington's Disease Care: "We Like to Think We're Making a Difference".

    PubMed

    LaDonna, Kori A; Watling, Christopher J; Ray, Susan L; Piechowicz, Christine; Venance, Shannon L

    2016-09-01

    Patient-centered care for individuals with myotonic dystrophy (DM1) and Huntington's disease (HD)-chronic, progressive, and life-limiting neurological conditions-may be challenged by patients' cognitive and behavioral impairments. However, no research has explored health care providers' (HCPs') perspectives about patient-centered care provision for these patients along their disease trajectory. Constructivist grounded theory informed the iterative data collection and analysis process. Eleven DM1 or HD HCPs participated in semistructured interviews, and three stages of coding were used to analyze their interview transcripts. Codes were collapsed into themes and categories. Three categories including an evolving care approach, fluid roles, and making a difference were identified. Participants described that their clinical care approach evolved depending on the patient's disease stage and caregivers' degree of involvement. HCPs described that their main goal was to provide hope to patients and caregivers through medical management, crisis prevention, support, and advocacy. Despite the lack of curative treatments, HCPs perceived that patients benefited from ongoing clinical care provided by proactive clinicians. Providing care for individuals with DM1 and HD is a balancing act. HCPs must strike a balance between (1) the frustrations and rewards of patient-centered care provision, (2) addressing symptoms and preventing and managing crises while focusing on patients' and caregivers' quality of life concerns, and (3) advocating for patients while addressing caregivers' needs. This raises important questions: Is patient-centered care possible for patients with cognitive decline? Does chronic neurological care need to evolve to better address patients' and caregivers' complex needs?

  4. Practice, progress and future directions for physical therapies in Huntingtons disease.

    PubMed

    Busse, Monica; Khalil, Hanan; Brooks, Simon; Quinn, Lori; Rosser, Anne

    2012-01-01

    Physical therapies and exercise may have potential as a disease modifying agent in Huntington's disease (HD) and in recent years, there have been several small scale feasibility studies that have shown benefit as a result of physical interventions. When evaluating complex physical interventions, a phased approach using mixed methodology designs that report specific intervention components, adherence, acceptability, adverse events and defined intervention protocols is important for replication and planning of future trials and to ensure potential for implementation in clinical practice. A narrative review of the available literature related to physical activity, physical therapy and exercise in people with HD was performed using a population, intervention, comparison and outcome (PICO) approach. Eight studies met specific inclusion criteria and were reviewed in terms of their systematic conduct and reporting standards. All of the studies (n = 8) provided details of intervention including location and duration. The majority of interventions included balance training activities in combination with other complex activities of daily living that required therapist supervision. Two of the interventions were home based, the remainder were facility or hospital based. None of the studies reported adverse events whilst only 3/8 reported adherence rates which were ranging from 60-80%. In general, limited detail was provided on the specific individual components of the interventions. This review of primary publications and conference proceedings, suggests that researchers working in the field need to focus on clearer reporting of intervention protocols so as to generate a clearer understanding of the impact of exercise and physical therapies on the symptoms of HD, as well as any potential synergistic role alongside the impending disease-modifying interventions.

  5. Pridopidine: Overview of Pharmacology and Rationale for its Use in Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Waters, Susanna; Tedroff, Joakim; Ponten, Henrik; Klamer, Daniel; Sonesson, Clas; Waters, Nicholas

    2018-01-01

    Despite advances in understanding the pathophysiology of Huntington's disease (HD), there are currently no effective pharmacological agents available to treat core symptoms or to stop or prevent the progression of this hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. Pridopidine, a novel small molecule compound, has demonstrated potential for both symptomatic treatment and disease modifying effects in HD. While pridopidine failed to achieve its primary efficacy outcomes (Modified motor score) in two trials (MermaiHD and HART) there were consistent effects on secondary outcomes (TMS). In the most recent study (PrideHD) pridiopidine did not differ from placebo on TMS, possibly due to a large enduring placebo effect.This review describes the process, based on in vivo systems response profiling, by which pridopidine was discovered and discusses its pharmacological profile, aiming to provide a model for the system-level effects, and a rationale for the use of pridopidine in patients affected by HD. Considering the effects on brain neurochemistry, gene expression and behaviour in vivo, pridopidine displays a unique effect profile. A hallmark feature in the behavioural pharmacology of pridopidine is its state-dependent inhibition or activation of dopamine-dependent psychomotor functions. Such effects are paralleled by strengthening of synaptic connectivity in cortico-striatal pathways suggesting pridopidine has potential to modify phenotypic expression as well as progression of HD. The preclinical pharmacological profile is discussed with respect to the clinical results for pridopidine, and proposals are made for further investigation, including preclinical and clinical studies addressing disease progression and effects at different stages of HD.

  6. Methylene Blue Partially Rescues Heart Defects in a Drosophila Model of Huntington's Disease.

    PubMed

    Heidari, Raheleh; Monnier, Véronique; Martin, Elodie; Tricoire, Hervé

    2015-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a Polyglutamine disease caused by the presence of CAG repeats in the first exon of Huntingtin (Htt), a large protein with multiple functions. In addition to neurodegeneration of specific brain regions, notably the striatum, HD also shows alterations in peripheral tissues, such as the heart, skeletal muscles or peripheral endocrine glands. Mutant Huntingtin (mHtt)-driven mitochondrial impairment may underlie some of the CNS and peripheral tissues dysfunctions, especially in tissues with high energy demand such as the heart. The aim of this study is to characterize two new inducible Drosophila HD heart models and to assay the therapeutic potential of methylene blue in these HD models. We report the construction of inducible Drosophila HD heart models, expressing two Nter fragments of the protein encompassing either exon 1 or the first 171 amino acids and the characterization of heart phenotypes in vivo. We show that both mHtt fragments are able to impair fly cardiac function with different characteristics. Additionally, expression of mHtt, which was limited to adulthood only, leads to mild heart impairment, as opposed to a strong and age-dependent phenotype observed when mHtt expression was driven during both developmental and adult stages. We report that treatment with methylene blue (MB), a protective compound in mitochondria-related diseases, partially protects the fly's heart against mHtt-induced toxicity, but does not rescue neuronal or glial phenotypes in other fly models of HD. This may be linked to its low penetration through the fly's blood-brain barrier. Our data suggest that improvement of mitochondrial function by MB, or related compounds, could be an efficient therapeutic strategy to prevent cardiac failure in HD patients.

  7. Neonatal Iron Supplementation Induces Striatal Atrophy in Female YAC128 Huntington's Disease Mice.

    PubMed

    Berggren, Kiersten L; Lu, Zhen; Fox, Julia A; Dudenhoeffer, Megan; Agrawal, Sonal; Fox, Jonathan H

    2016-01-01

    Dysregulation of iron homeostasis is implicated in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. We have previously shown that increased iron intake in R6/2 HD neonatal mice, but not adult R6/2 HD mice potentiates disease outcomes at 12-weeks of age corresponding to advanced HD [Redox Biol. 2015;4 : 363-74]. However, whether these findings extend to other HD models is unknown. In particular, it is unclear if increased neonatal iron intake can promote neurodegeneration in mouse HD models where disease onset is delayed to mid-adult life. To determine if increased dietary iron intake in neonatal and adult life-stages potentiates HD in the slowly progressive YAC128 HD mouse model. Female neonatal mice were supplemented daily from days 10-17 with 120μg/g body weight of carbonyl iron. Adult mice were provided diets containing low (50 ppm), medium (150 ppm) and high (500 ppm) iron concentrations from 2-months of age. HD progression was determined using behavioral, brain morphometric and biochemical approaches. Neonatal-iron supplemented YAC128 HD mice had significantly lower striatal volumes and striatal neuronal cell body volumes as compared to control HD mice at 1-year of age. Neonatal-iron supplementation of HD mice had no effect on rota-rod motor endurance and brain iron or glutathione status. Adult iron intake level had no effect on HD progression. YAC128 HD mice had altered peripheral responses to iron intake compared to iron-matched wild-type controls. Female YAC128 HD mice supplemented with nutritionally-relevant levels of iron as neonates demonstrate increased striatal degeneration 1-year later.

  8. Cognition in Huntington's disease in manifest, premanifest and converting gene carriers over ten years.

    PubMed

    Hart, Ellen P; Dumas, Eve M; Giltay, Erik J; Middelkoop, Huub A M; Roos, Raymund A C

    2013-01-01

    Cognitive decline in Huntington's disease (HD) remains an area of inconsistencies, especially far from disease onset. To clarify the course of cognition in premanifest HD. Twenty-six premanifest HD, 19 manifest HD, and 87 control subjects were followed for ten years, using an extensive cognitive battery. Differences in baseline levels and change over time, on four factors (motor speed, global cognition, executive functioning (EF), and memory) were examined, using multilevel regression analyses. Converters were additionally analysed as a separate group. Also, the influence of motor speed and predicted years to disease onset on the cognitive factors was studied. Manifest HD subjects showed lower baseline scores compared to controls on the motor speed (p=0.002), memory (p<0.001) and EF (p<0.001). They additionally deteriorated over the ten-year follow-up on memory (p=0.01). Converters deteriorated on EF (p=0.04). Further analyses of premanifest subjects 'far from and close to predicted onset' revealed lower baseline scores for the 'close' group on EF, as compared to controls (p=0.001). They also deteriorated on memory (p=0.01). Motor speed substantially mediated the results of the three cognitive factors; when added as covariate to the model several baseline and slope differences for the cognitive factors ceased to be significant. Memory and EF are highly sensitive for ascertaining deterioration in premanifest HD gene carriers, especially in subjects close to onset. Lack of deterioration for the subjects further away from onset suggests that both domains are largely unaffected in those far from onset. Also, motor influence on cognition is substantial and should be taken into account in cognitive HD research.

  9. Large-scale brain network abnormalities in Huntington's disease revealed by structural covariance.

    PubMed

    Minkova, Lora; Eickhoff, Simon B; Abdulkadir, Ahmed; Kaller, Christoph P; Peter, Jessica; Scheller, Elisa; Lahr, Jacob; Roos, Raymund A; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Klöppel, Stefan

    2016-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that can be diagnosed with certainty decades before symptom onset. Studies using structural MRI have identified grey matter (GM) loss predominantly in the striatum, but also involving various cortical areas. So far, voxel-based morphometric studies have examined each brain region in isolation and are thus unable to assess the changes in the interrelation of brain regions. Here, we examined the structural covariance in GM volumes in pre-specified motor, working memory, cognitive flexibility, and social-affective networks in 99 patients with manifest HD (mHD), 106 presymptomatic gene mutation carriers (pre-HD), and 108 healthy controls (HC). After correction for global differences in brain volume, we found that increased GM volume in one region was associated with increased GM volume in another. When statistically comparing the groups, no differences between HC and pre-HD were observed, but increased positive correlations were evident for mHD, relative to pre-HD and HC. These findings could be explained by a HD-related neuronal loss heterogeneously affecting the examined network at the pre-HD stage, which starts to dominate structural covariance globally at the manifest stage. Follow-up analyses identified structural connections between frontoparietal motor regions to be linearly modified by disease burden score (DBS). Moderator effects of disease load burden became significant at a DBS level typically associated with the onset of unequivocal HD motor signs. Together with existing findings from functional connectivity analyses, our data indicates a critical role of these frontoparietal regions for the onset of HD motor signs. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. A modifier of Huntington's disease onset at the MLH1 locus.

    PubMed

    Lee, Jong-Min; Chao, Michael J; Harold, Denise; Abu Elneel, Kawther; Gillis, Tammy; Holmans, Peter; Jones, Lesley; Orth, Michael; Myers, Richard H; Kwak, Seung; Wheeler, Vanessa C; MacDonald, Marcy E; Gusella, James F

    2017-10-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by an expanded CAG repeat in HTT. Many clinical characteristics of HD such as age at motor onset are determined largely by the size of HTT CAG repeat. However, emerging evidence strongly supports a role for other genetic factors in modifying the disease pathogenesis driven by mutant huntingtin. A recent genome-wide association analysis to discover genetic modifiers of HD onset age provided initial evidence for modifier loci on chromosomes 8 and 15 and suggestive evidence for a locus on chromosome 3. Here, genotyping of candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms in a cohort of 3,314 additional HD subjects yields independent confirmation of the former two loci and moves the third to genome-wide significance at MLH1, a locus whose mouse orthologue modifies CAG length-dependent phenotypes in a Htt-knock-in mouse model of HD. Both quantitative and dichotomous association analyses implicate a functional variant on ∼32% of chromosomes with the beneficial modifier effect that delays HD motor onset by 0.7 years/allele. Genomic DNA capture and sequencing of a modifier haplotype localize the functional variation to a 78 kb region spanning the 3'end of MLH1 and the 5'end of the neighboring LRRFIP2, and marked by an isoleucine-valine missense variant in MLH1. Analysis of expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTLs) provides modest support for altered regulation of MLH1 and LRRFIP2, raising the possibility that the modifier affects regulation of both genes. Finally, polygenic modification score and heritability analyses suggest the existence of additional genetic modifiers, supporting expanded, comprehensive genetic analysis of larger HD datasets. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Striatal volume contributes to the prediction of onset of Huntington disease in incident cases.

    PubMed

    Aylward, Elizabeth H; Liu, Dawei; Nopoulos, Peggy C; Ross, Christopher A; Pierson, Ronald K; Mills, James A; Long, Jeffrey D; Paulsen, Jane S

    2012-05-01

    Previous neuroimaging research indicates that brain atrophy in Huntington disease (HD) begins many years before movement abnormalities become severe enough to warrant diagnosis. Most clinical trials being planned for individuals in the prediagnostic stage of HD propose to use delay of disease onset as the primary outcome measure. Although formulas have been developed based on age and CAG repeat length, to predict when HD motor onset will occur, it would be useful to have additional measures that can improve the accuracy of prediction of disease onset. The current study examined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of striatum and white matter volume in 85 individuals prospectively followed from pre-HD stage through diagnosable motor onset (incident cases) and 85 individuals individually matched with incident cases on CAG repeat length, sex, and age, who were not diagnosed with HD during the course of the study. Volumes of striatum and white matter were significantly smaller in individuals who would be diagnosed 1 to 4 years following the initial MRI scan, compared with those who would remain in the pre-HD stage. Putamen volume was the measure that best distinguished between the two groups. Results suggest that MRI volumetric measures may be helpful in selecting individuals for future clinical trials in pre-HD where HD motor onset is the primary outcome measure. In planning for multisite clinical trials in pre-HD, investigators may also want to consider using more objective measures, such as MRI volumes, in addition to onset of diagnosable movement disorder, as major outcome measures. Copyright © 2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Decreased glycogen synthase kinase-3 levels and activity contribute to Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Nogales, Marta; Hernández, Félix; Miguez, Andrés; Alberch, Jordi; Ginés, Silvia; Pérez-Navarro, Esther; Lucas, José J

    2015-09-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder characterized by brain atrophy particularly in striatum leading to personality changes, chorea and dementia. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is a serine/threonine kinase in the crossroad of many signaling pathways that is highly pleiotropic as it phosphorylates more than hundred substrates including structural, metabolic, and signaling proteins. Increased GSK-3 activity is believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and GSK-3 inhibitors have been postulated as therapeutic agents for neurodegeneration. Regarding HD, GSK-3 inhibitors have shown beneficial effects in cell and invertebrate animal models but no evident efficacy in mouse models. Intriguingly, those studies were performed without interrogating GSK-3 level and activity in HD brain. Here we aim to explore the level and also the enzymatic activity of GSK-3 in the striatum and other less affected brain regions of HD patients and of the R6/1 mouse model to then elucidate the possible contribution of its alteration to HD pathogenesis by genetic manipulation in mice. We report a dramatic decrease in GSK-3 levels and activity in striatum and cortex of HD patients with similar results in the mouse model. Correction of the GSK-3 deficit in HD mice, by combining with transgenic mice with conditional GSK-3 expression, resulted in amelioration of their brain atrophy and behavioral motor and learning deficits. Thus, our results demonstrate that decreased brain GSK-3 contributes to HD neurological phenotype and open new therapeutic opportunities based on increasing GSK-3 activity or attenuating the harmful consequences of its decrease. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Neurofilament light protein in blood predicts regional atrophy in Huntington disease.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Eileanoir B; Byrne, Lauren M; Gregory, Sarah; Rodrigues, Filipe B; Blennow, Kaj; Durr, Alexandra; Leavitt, Blair R; Roos, Raymund A; Zetterberg, Henrik; Tabrizi, Sarah J; Scahill, Rachael I; Wild, Edward J

    2018-02-20

    Neurofilament light (NfL) protein in blood plasma has been proposed as a prognostic biomarker of neurodegeneration in a number of conditions, including Huntington disease (HD). This study investigates the regional distribution of NfL-associated neural pathology in HD gene expansion carriers. We examined associations between NfL measured in plasma and regionally specific atrophy in cross-sectional (n = 198) and longitudinal (n = 177) data in HD gene expansion carriers from the international multisite TRACK-HD study. Using voxel-based morphometry, we measured associations between baseline NfL levels and both baseline gray matter and white matter volume; and longitudinal change in gray matter and white matter over the subsequent 3 years in HD gene expansion carriers. After controlling for demographics, associations between increased NfL levels and reduced brain volume were seen in cortical and subcortical gray matter and within the white matter. After also controlling for known predictors of disease progression (age and CAG repeat length), associations were limited to the caudate and putamen. Longitudinally, NfL predicted subsequent occipital gray matter atrophy and widespread white matter reduction, both before and after correction for other predictors of disease progression. These findings highlight the value of NfL as a dynamic marker of brain atrophy and, more generally, provide further evidence of the strong association between plasma NfL level, a candidate blood biomarker, and pathologic neuronal change. © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.

  14. Comprehensive behavioral and molecular characterization of a new knock-in mouse model of Huntington's disease: zQ175.

    PubMed

    Menalled, Liliana B; Kudwa, Andrea E; Miller, Sam; Fitzpatrick, Jon; Watson-Johnson, Judy; Keating, Nicole; Ruiz, Melinda; Mushlin, Richard; Alosio, William; McConnell, Kristi; Connor, David; Murphy, Carol; Oakeshott, Steve; Kwan, Mei; Beltran, Jose; Ghavami, Afshin; Brunner, Dani; Park, Larry C; Ramboz, Sylvie; Howland, David

    2012-01-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive and psychiatric manifestations. Since the mutation responsible for the disease was identified as an unstable expansion of CAG repeats in the gene encoding the huntingtin protein in 1993, numerous mouse models of HD have been generated to study disease pathogenesis and evaluate potential therapeutic approaches. Of these, knock-in models best mimic the human condition from a genetic perspective since they express the mutation in the appropriate genetic and protein context. Behaviorally, however, while some abnormal phenotypes have been detected in knock-in mouse models, a model with an earlier and more robust phenotype than the existing models is required. We describe here for the first time a new mouse line, the zQ175 knock-in mouse, derived from a spontaneous expansion of the CAG copy number in our CAG 140 knock-in colony [1]. Given the inverse relationship typically observed between age of HD onset and length of CAG repeat, since this new mouse line carries a significantly higher CAG repeat length it was expected to be more significantly impaired than the parent line. Using a battery of behavioral tests we evaluated both heterozygous and homozygous zQ175 mice. Homozygous mice showed motor and grip strength abnormalities with an early onset (8 and 4 weeks of age, respectively), which were followed by deficits in rotarod and climbing activity at 30 weeks of age and by cognitive deficits at around 1 year of age. Of particular interest for translational work, we also found clear behavioral deficits in heterozygous mice from around 4.5 months of age, especially in the dark phase of the diurnal cycle. Decreased body weight was observed in both heterozygotes and homozygotes, along with significantly reduced survival in the homozygotes. In addition, we detected an early and significant decrease of striatal gene markers from 12 weeks of age. These data suggest

  15. Gradual Phenotype Development in Huntington Disease Transgenic Minipig Model at 24 Months of Age.

    PubMed

    Vidinská, Daniela; Vochozková, Petra; Šmatlíková, Petra; Ardan, Taras; Klíma, Jiří; Juhás, Štefan; Juhásová, Jana; Bohuslavová, Božena; Baxa, Monika; Valeková, Ivona; Motlík, Jan; Ellederová, Zdenka

    2018-06-05

    Huntington disease (HD) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of a polyglutamine sequence in a gene encoding the huntingtin (Htt) protein, which is expressed in almost all cells of the body. In addition to small animal models, new therapeutic approaches (including gene therapy) require large animal models as their large brains are a more realistic model for translational research. In this study, we describe phenotype development in transgenic minipigs (TgHD) expressing the N-terminal part of mutated human Htt at the age of 24 months. TgHD and wild-type littermates were compared. Western blot analysis and subcellular fractionation of different tissues was used to determine the fragmentation of Htt. Immunohistochemistry and optical analysis of coronal sections measuring aggregates, Htt expression, neuroinflammation, and myelination was applied. Furthermore, the expression of Golgi protein acyl-CoA binding domain containing 3 (ACBD3) was analyzed. We found age-correlated Htt fragmentation in the brain. Among various tissues studied, the testes displayed the highest fragmentation, with Htt fragments detectable even in cell nuclei. Also, Golgi protein ACBD3 was upregulated in testes, which is in agreement with previously reported testicular degeneration in TgHD minipigs. Nevertheless, the TgHD-specific mutated Htt fragments were also present in the cytoplasm of striatum and cortex cells. Moreover, microglial cells were activated and myelination was slightly decreased, suggesting the development of a premanifest stage of neurodegeneration in TgHD minipigs. The gradual development of a neurodegenerative phenotype, ac-companied with testicular degeneration, is observed in 24- month-old TgHD minipigs. © 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  16. CAG repeat expansion in Huntington disease determines age at onset in a fully dominant fashion

    PubMed Central

    Lee, J.-M.; Ramos, E.M.; Lee, J.-H.; Gillis, T.; Mysore, J.S.; Hayden, M.R.; Warby, S.C.; Morrison, P.; Nance, M.; Ross, C.A.; Margolis, R.L.; Squitieri, F.; Orobello, S.; Di Donato, S.; Gomez-Tortosa, E.; Ayuso, C.; Suchowersky, O.; Trent, R.J.A.; McCusker, E.; Novelletto, A.; Frontali, M.; Jones, R.; Ashizawa, T.; Frank, S.; Saint-Hilaire, M.H.; Hersch, S.M.; Rosas, H.D.; Lucente, D.; Harrison, M.B.; Zanko, A.; Abramson, R.K.; Marder, K.; Sequeiros, J.; Paulsen, J.S.; Landwehrmeyer, G.B.; Myers, R.H.; MacDonald, M.E.; Durr, Alexandra; Rosenblatt, Adam; Frati, Luigi; Perlman, Susan; Conneally, Patrick M.; Klimek, Mary Lou; Diggin, Melissa; Hadzi, Tiffany; Duckett, Ayana; Ahmed, Anwar; Allen, Paul; Ames, David; Anderson, Christine; Anderson, Karla; Anderson, Karen; Andrews, Thomasin; Ashburner, John; Axelson, Eric; Aylward, Elizabeth; Barker, Roger A.; Barth, Katrin; Barton, Stacey; Baynes, Kathleen; Bea, Alexandra; Beall, Erik; Beg, Mirza Faisal; Beglinger, Leigh J.; Biglan, Kevin; Bjork, Kristine; Blanchard, Steve; Bockholt, Jeremy; Bommu, Sudharshan Reddy; Brossman, Bradley; Burrows, Maggie; Calhoun, Vince; Carlozzi, Noelle; Chesire, Amy; Chiu, Edmond; Chua, Phyllis; Connell, R.J.; Connor, Carmela; Corey-Bloom, Jody; Craufurd, David; Cross, Stephen; Cysique, Lucette; Santos, Rachelle Dar; Davis, Jennifer; Decolongon, Joji; DiPietro, Anna; Doucette, Nicholas; Downing, Nancy; Dudler, Ann; Dunn, Steve; Ecker, Daniel; Epping, Eric A.; Erickson, Diane; Erwin, Cheryl; Evans, Ken; Factor, Stewart A.; Farias, Sarah; Fatas, Marta; Fiedorowicz, Jess; Fullam, Ruth; Furtado, Sarah; Garde, Monica Bascunana; Gehl, Carissa; Geschwind, Michael D.; Goh, Anita; Gooblar, Jon; Goodman, Anna; Griffith, Jane; Groves, Mark; Guttman, Mark; Hamilton, Joanne; Harrington, Deborah; Harris, Greg; Heaton, Robert K.; Helmer, Karl; Henneberry, Machelle; Hershey, Tamara; Herwig, Kelly; Howard, Elizabeth; Hunter, Christine; Jankovic, Joseph; Johnson, Hans; Johnson, Arik; Jones, Kathy; Juhl, Andrew; Kim, Eun Young; Kimble, Mycah; King, Pamela; Klimek, Mary Lou; Klöppel, Stefan; Koenig, Katherine; Komiti, Angela; Kumar, Rajeev; Langbehn, Douglas; Leavitt, Blair; Leserman, Anne; Lim, Kelvin; Lipe, Hillary; Lowe, Mark; Magnotta, Vincent A.; Mallonee, William M.; Mans, Nicole; Marietta, Jacquie; Marshall, Frederick; Martin, Wayne; Mason, Sarah; Matheson, Kirsty; Matson, Wayne; Mazzoni, Pietro; McDowell, William; Miedzybrodzka, Zosia; Miller, Michael; Mills, James; Miracle, Dawn; Montross, Kelsey; Moore, David; Mori, Sasumu; Moser, David J.; Moskowitz, Carol; Newman, Emily; Nopoulos, Peg; Novak, Marianne; O'Rourke, Justin; Oakes, David; Ondo, William; Orth, Michael; Panegyres, Peter; Pease, Karen; Perlman, Susan; Perlmutter, Joel; Peterson, Asa; Phillips, Michael; Pierson, Ron; Potkin, Steve; Preston, Joy; Quaid, Kimberly; Radtke, Dawn; Rae, Daniela; Rao, Stephen; Raymond, Lynn; Reading, Sarah; Ready, Rebecca; Reece, Christine; Reilmann, Ralf; Reynolds, Norm; Richardson, Kylie; Rickards, Hugh; Ro, Eunyoe; Robinson, Robert; Rodnitzky, Robert; Rogers, Ben; Rosenblatt, Adam; Rosser, Elisabeth; Rosser, Anne; Price, Kathy; Price, Kathy; Ryan, Pat; Salmon, David; Samii, Ali; Schumacher, Jamy; Schumacher, Jessica; Sendon, Jose Luis Lópenz; Shear, Paula; Sheinberg, Alanna; Shpritz, Barnett; Siedlecki, Karen; Simpson, Sheila A.; Singer, Adam; Smith, Jim; Smith, Megan; Smith, Glenn; Snyder, Pete; Song, Allen; Sran, Satwinder; Stephan, Klaas; Stober, Janice; Sü?muth, Sigurd; Suter, Greg; Tabrizi, Sarah; Tempkin, Terry; Testa, Claudia; Thompson, Sean; Thomsen, Teri; Thumma, Kelli; Toga, Arthur; Trautmann, Sonja; Tremont, Geoff; Turner, Jessica; Uc, Ergun; Vaccarino, Anthony; van Duijn, Eric; Van Walsem, Marleen; Vik, Stacie; Vonsattel, Jean Paul; Vuletich, Elizabeth; Warner, Tom; Wasserman, Paula; Wassink, Thomas; Waterman, Elijah; Weaver, Kurt; Weir, David; Welsh, Claire; Werling-Witkoske, Chris