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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):2041-6. Epub 2003 Feb 7.

Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, ameliorates motor deficits in a mouse model of Huntington's disease.

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Medical and Molecular Genetics, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College London, Eighth Floor Guy's Tower, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, United Kingdom.


Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited, progressive neurological disorder that is caused by a CAG/polyglutamine repeat expansion and for which there is no effective therapy. Recent evidence indicates that transcriptional dysregulation may contribute to the molecular pathogenesis of this disease. Supporting this view, administration of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors has been shown to rescue lethality and photoreceptor neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of polyglutamine disease. To further explore the therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibitors, we have conducted preclinical trials with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a potent HDAC inhibitor, in the R6/2 HD mouse model. We show that SAHA crosses the blood-brain barrier and increases histone acetylation in the brain. We found that SAHA could be administered orally in drinking water when complexed with cyclodextrins. SAHA dramatically improved the motor impairment in R6/2 mice, clearly validating the pursuit of this class of compounds as HD therapeutics.

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