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Mol Ther. 2005 Oct;12(4):618-33.

Intrastriatal rAAV-mediated delivery of anti-huntingtin shRNAs induces partial reversal of disease progression in R6/1 Huntington's disease transgenic mice.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute, Gainesville, 32610-0244, USA.


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.

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