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Exp Neurol. 2001 Oct;171(2):351-60.

A bile acid protects against motor and cognitive deficits and reduces striatal degeneration in the 3-nitropropionic acid model of Huntington's disease.

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Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


There is currently no effective treatment for Huntington's disease (HD), a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor and cognitive deterioration. It is well established that HD is associated with perturbation of mitochondrial energy metabolism. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a naturally occurring bile acid, can stabilize the mitochondrial membrane, inhibit the mitochondrial permeability transition, decrease free radical formation, and derail apoptotic pathways. Here we report that TUDCA significantly reduced 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP)-mediated striatal neuronal cell death in cell culture. In addition, rats treated with TUDCA exhibited an 80% reduction in apoptosis and in lesion volumes associated with 3-NP administration. Moreover, rats which received a combination of TUDCA + 3-NP exhibited sensorimotor and cognitive task performance that was indistinguishable from that of controls, and this effect persisted at least 6 months. Bile acids have traditionally been used as therapeutic agents for certain liver diseases. This is the first demonstration, however, that a bile acid can be delivered to the brain and function as a neuroprotectant and thus may offer potential therapeutic benefit in the treatment of certain neurodegenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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