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Mamm Genome. 2012 Jun;23(5-6):367-77. doi: 10.1007/s00335-012-9391-5.

Genetic background modulates behavioral impairments in R6/2 mice and suggests a role for dominant genetic modifiers in Huntington’s disease pathogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Variability and modification of the symptoms of Huntington’s disease (HD) are commonly observed in both patient populations and animal models of the disease. Utilizing a stable line of the R6/2 HD mouse model, the present study investigated the role of genetic background in the onset and severity of HD symptoms in a transgenic mouse. R6/2 congenic C57BL/6J and C57BL/6J×DBA/2J F1 (B6D2F1) mice were evaluated for survival and a number of behavioral phenotypes. This study reports that the presence of the DBA/2J allele results in amelioration or exacerbation of several HD-like phenotypes characteristic of the R6/2 mouse model and indicates the presence of dominant genetic modifiers of HD symptoms. This study is the first step in identifying genes that confer natural genetic variation and modify the HD symptoms. This identification may lead to novel targets for treatment and help elucidate the molecular mechanisms of HD pathogenesis.

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