Modulation of lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial function improves neuropathology in Huntington's disease mice.
ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder. Oxidative damage has been associated with pathological neuronal loss in HD. The therapeutic modulation of oxidative stress and mitochondrial function using low molecular weight compounds may be an important strategy for delaying the onset and slowing the progression of HD. In the present study, we found a marked increase of 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) adducts, a lipid peroxidation marker, in the caudate and putamen of HD brains and in the striatum of HD mice. Notably, 4-HNE immunoreactivity was colocalized with mutant huntingtin inclusions in the striatal neurons of R6/2 HD mice. Administration of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), an antioxidant that functions by inhibiting lipid peroxidation, markedly reduced 4-HNE adduct formation in the nuclear inclusions of R6/2 striatal neurons. NDGA also protected cultured neurons against oxidative stress-induced cell death by improving ATP generation and mitochondrial morphology and function. In addition, NDGA restored mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial structure, and synapse structure in the striatum of R6/2 mice and increased their lifespan. The present findings suggest that further therapeutic studies using NDGA are warranted in HD and other neurodegenerative diseases characterized by increased oxidative stress and altered mitochondrial function.
Project description:Mechanisms of tissue damage in Huntington's disease involve excitotoxicity, mitochondrial damage, and inflammation, including microglia activation. Immunomodulatory and anti-protein aggregation properties of tetracyclines were demonstrated in several disease models. In the present study, the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of the tetracycline doxycycline were investigated in the mouse model of HD disease R6/2. Transgenic mice were daily treated with doxycycline 20 mg/kg, starting from 4 weeks of age. After sacrifice, histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed. We found that doxycycline-treated R6/2 mice survived longer and displayed less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than the saline-treated ones. Primary outcome measures such as striatal atrophy, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and the negative modulation of microglial reaction revealed a neuroprotective effect of the compound. Doxycycline provided a significantly increase of activated CREB and BDNF in the striatal neurons, along with a down modulation of neuroinflammation, which, combined, might explain the beneficial effects observed in this model. Our findings show that doxycycline treatment could be considered as a valid therapeutic approach for HD.
Project description:Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear enzyme that is involved in physiological processes as DNA repair, genomic stability, and apoptosis. Moreover, published studies demonstrated that PARP-1 mediates necrotic cell death in response to excessive DNA damage under certain pathological conditions. In Huntington's disease brains, PARP immunoreactivity was described in neurons and in glial cells, thereby suggesting the involvement of apoptosis in HD. In this study, we sought to determine if the PARP-1 inhibitor exerts a neuroprotective effect in R6/2 mutant mice, which recapitulates, in many aspects, human HD. Transgenic mice were treated with the PARP-1 inhibitor INO-1001 mg/Kg daily starting from 4 weeks of age. After transcardial perfusion, histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed. We found that INO 1001-treated R6/2 mice survived longer and displayed less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than the vehicle treated ones. Primary outcome measures such as striatal atrophy, morphology of striatal neurons, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and microglial reaction confirmed a neuroprotective effect of the compound. INO-1001 was effective in significantly increasing activated CREB and BDNF in the striatal spiny neurons, which might account for the beneficial effects observed in this model. Our findings show that PARP-1 inhibition could be considered as a valid therapeutic approach for HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant trinucleotide repeat disorder characterized by choreiform movements, dystonia and striatal neuronal loss. Amongst multiple cellular processes, abnormal neurotransmitter signalling and decreased trophic support from glutamatergic cortical afferents are major mechanisms underlying striatal degeneration. Recent work suggests that the thalamostriatal (TS) system, another major source of glutamatergic input, is abnormal in HD although its phenotypical significance is unknown. We hypothesized that TS dysfunction plays an important role in generating motor symptoms and contributes to degeneration of striatal neuronal subtypes. Our results using the R6/2 mouse model of HD indicate that neurons of the parafascicular nucleus (PF), the main source of TS afferents, degenerate at an early stage. PF lesions performed prior to motor dysfunction or striatal degeneration result in an accelerated dystonic phenotype and are associated with premature loss of cholinergic interneurons. The progressive loss of striatal medium spiny neurons and parvalbumin-positive interneurons observed in R6/2 mice is unaltered by PF lesions. Early striatal cholinergic ablation using a mitochondrial immunotoxin provides evidence for increased cholinergic vulnerability to cellular energy failure in R6/2 mice, and worsens the dystonic phenotype. The TS system therefore contributes to trophic support of striatal interneuron subtypes in the presence of neurodegenerative stress, and TS deafferentation may be a novel cell non-autonomous mechanism contributing to the pathogenesis of HD. Furthermore, behavioural experiments demonstrate that the TS system and striatal cholinergic interneurons are key motor-network structures involved in the pathogenesis of dystonia. This work suggests that treatments aimed at rescuing the TS system may preserve important elements of striatal structure and function and provide symptomatic relief in HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive ultimately fatal disorder caused by a glutamine-encoding CAG expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene that results in degeneration mainly in striatal and cerebro-cortical brain regions. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one important facet of HD pathogenesis. Here we used R6/2 and YAC128 HD mouse models of human HD, that express different HTT transgenes and have different progression rates, to identify HD brain mitochondrial proteomic signatures. Cerebral cortical mitochondrial preparations from HD and wild-type litter mate mice were compared by two-dimensional SDS-PAGE electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Proteomic analyses inferred 17 and 12 differentially expressed proteins, respectively in 12?week R6/2 and 15?month YAC128 HD mice, compared to controls. Peroxiredoxin 3, stress-70, DJ-1, isocitrate dehydrogenase [NAD] ? subunit and ATP synthase subunit D were differentially expressed in both models. Using the PANTHER (Protein ANalysis THrough Evolutionary Relationships) classification system we show that the inferred proteins are involved in oxidative stress defense, oxidative phosphorylation, the citric acid cycle, pyruvate metabolism, apoptosis, protein folding and iron metabolism. Common mitochondrial proteomic changes are significant in mouse models of middle (YAC128) and advanced (R6/2) HD despite differences in the HTT transgenes, age, genetic background and disease stage. The findings identify a proteomic signature of HD mitochondria in mouse models that includes previously unrecognized proteins.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine-encoding CAG expansion in the huntingtin gene. Iron accumulates in the brains of HD patients and mouse disease models. However, the cellular and subcellular sites of iron accumulation, as well as significance to disease progression are not well understood. We used independent approaches to investigate the location of brain iron accumulation. In R6/2 HD mouse brain, synchotron x-ray fluorescence analysis revealed iron accumulation as discrete puncta in the perinuclear cytoplasm of striatal neurons. Further, perfusion Turnbull's staining for ferrous iron (II) combined with transmission electron microscope ultra-structural analysis revealed increased staining in membrane bound peri-nuclear vesicles in R6/2 HD striatal neurons. Analysis of iron homeostatic proteins in R6/2 HD mice revealed decreased levels of the iron response proteins (IRPs 1 and 2) and accordingly decreased expression of iron uptake transferrin receptor (TfR) and increased levels of neuronal iron export protein ferroportin (FPN). Finally, we show that intra-ventricular delivery of the iron chelator deferoxamine results in an improvement of the motor phenotype in R6/2 HD mice. Our data supports accumulation of redox-active ferrous iron in the endocytic / lysosomal compartment in mouse HD neurons. Expression changes of IRPs, TfR and FPN are consistent with a compensatory response to an increased intra-neuronal labile iron pool leading to increased susceptibility to iron-associated oxidative stress. These findings, together with protection by deferoxamine, support a potentiating role of neuronal iron accumulation in HD.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD), caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, is characterized by abnormal protein aggregates and motor and cognitive dysfunction. Htt protein is ubiquitously expressed, but the striatal medium spiny neuron (MSN) is most susceptible to dysfunction and death. Abnormal gene expression represents a core pathogenic feature of HD, but the relative roles of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous effects on transcription remain unclear. To determine the extent of cell-autonomous dysregulation in the striatum in vivo, we examined genome-wide RNA expression in symptomatic D9-N171-98Q (a.k.a. DE5) transgenic mice in which the forebrain expression of the first 171 amino acids of human Htt with a 98Q repeat expansion is limited to MSNs. Microarray data generated from these mice were compared with those generated on the identical array platform from a pan-neuronal HD mouse model, R6/2, carrying two different CAG repeat lengths, and a relatively high degree of overlap of changes in gene expression was revealed. We further focused on known canonical pathways associated with excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, dopamine signaling and trophic support. While genes related to excitotoxicity, dopamine signaling and trophic support were altered in both DE5 and R6/2 mice, which may be either cell autonomous or non-cell autonomous, genes related to mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor are primarily affected in DE5 transgenic mice, indicating cell-autonomous mechanisms. Overall, HD-induced dysregulation of the striatal transcriptome can be largely attributed to intrinsic effects of mutant Htt, in the absence of expression in cortical neurons.
Project description:The reduction of pre-enkephalin (pENK) mRNA expression might be an early sign of striatal neuronal dysfunction in Huntington's disease (HD), due to mutated huntingtin protein. Indeed, striatopallidal (pENK-containing) neurodegeneration occurs at earlier stage of the disease, compare to the loss of striatonigral neurons. However, no data are available about the functional role of striatal pENK in HD. According to the neuroprotective properties of opioids that have been recognized recently, the objective of this study was to investigate whether striatal overexpression of pENK at early stage of HD can improve motor dysfunction, and/or reduce striatal neuronal loss in the R6/2 transgenic mouse model of HD. To achieve this goal recombinant adeno-associated-virus (rAAV2)-containing green fluorescence protein (GFP)-pENK was injected bilaterally in the striatum of R6/2 mice at 5 weeks old to overexpress opioid peptide pENK. Striatal injection of rAAV2-GFP was used as a control. Different behavioral tests were carried out before and/or after striatal injections of rAAV2. The animals were euthanized at 10 weeks old. Our results demonstrate that striatal overexpression of pENK had beneficial effects on behavioral symptoms of HD in R6/2 by: delaying the onset of decline in muscular force; reduction of clasping; improvement of fast motor activity, short-term memory and recognition; as well as normalization of anxiety-like behavior. The improvement of behavioral dysfunction in R6/2 mice having received rAAV2-GFP-pENK associated with upregulation of striatal pENK mRNA; the increased level of enkephalin peptide in the striatum, globus pallidus and substantia nigra; as well as the slight increase in the number of striatal neurons compared with other groups of R6/2. Accordingly, we suggest that at early stage of HD upregulation of striatal enkephalin might play a key role at attenuating illness symptoms.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by the presence of an abnormally expanded polyglutamine domain in the N-terminus of huntingtin. We developed a recombinant adeno-associated viral serotype 5 (rAAV5) gene transfer strategy to posttranscriptionally suppress the levels of striatal mutant huntingtin (mHtt) in the R6/1 HD transgenic mouse via RNA interference. Transient cotransfection of HEK293 cells with plasmids expressing a portion of human mHtt derived from R6/1 transgenic HD mice and a short-hairpin RNA directed against the 5' UTR of the mHtt mRNA (siHUNT-1) resulted in reduction in the levels of mHtt mRNA (-75%) and protein (-60%). Long-term in vivo rAAV5-mediated expression of siHUNT-1 in the striatum of R6/1 mice reduced the levels of mHtt mRNA (-78%) and protein (-28%) as determined by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis, respectively. The reduction in mHtt was concomitant with a reduction in the size and number of neuronal intranuclear inclusions and a small but significant normalization of the steady-state levels of preproenkephalin and dopamine- and cAMP-responsive phosphoprotein 32 kDa mRNA. Finally, bilateral expression of rAAV5-siHUNT-1 resulted in delayed onset of the rear paw clasping phenotype exhibited by the R6/1 mice. These results suggest that a reduction in the levels of striatal mHtt can ameliorate the HD phenotype of R6/1 mice.
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by Huntingtin (Htt) gene mutation resulting in the loss of striatal GABAergic neurons and motor functional deficits. We report here an in vivo cell conversion technology to reprogram striatal astrocytes into GABAergic neurons in both R6/2 and YAC128 HD mouse models through AAV-mediated ectopic expression of NeuroD1 and Dlx2 transcription factors. We found that the astrocyte-to-neuron (AtN) conversion rate reached 80% in the striatum and >50% of the converted neurons were DARPP32+ medium spiny neurons. The striatal astrocyte-converted neurons showed action potentials and synaptic events, and projected their axons to the targeted globus pallidus and substantia nigra in a time-dependent manner. Behavioral analyses found that NeuroD1 and Dlx2-treated R6/2 mice showed a significant extension of life span and improvement of motor functions. This study demonstrates that in vivo AtN conversion may be a disease-modifying gene therapy to treat HD and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Project description:Excitotoxic injury to striatum by dysfunctional cortical input or aberrant glutamate uptake may contribute to Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis. Since corticostriatal terminals possess mGluR2/3 autoreceptors, whose activation dampens glutamate release, we tested the ability of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 to improve the phenotype in R6/2 HD mice with 120-125 CAG repeats. Daily subcutaneous injection of a maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of LY379268 (20mg/kg) had no evident adverse effects in WT mice, and diverse benefits in R6/2 mice, both in a cohort of mice tested behaviorally until the end of R6/2 lifespan and in a cohort sacrificed at 10weeks of age for blinded histological analysis. MTD LY379268 yielded a significant 11% increase in R6/2 survival, an improvement on rotarod, normalization and/or improvement in locomotor parameters measured in open field (activity, speed, acceleration, endurance, and gait), a rescue of a 15-20% cortical and striatal neuron loss, normalization of SP striatal neuron neurochemistry, and to a lesser extent enkephalinergic striatal neuron neurochemistry. Deficits were greater in male than female R6/2 mice, and drug benefit tended to be greater in males. The improvements in SP striatal neurons, which facilitate movement, are consistent with the improved movement in LY379268-treated R6/2 mice. Our data indicate that mGluR2/3 agonists may be particularly useful for ameliorating the morphological, neurochemical and motor defects observed in HD.