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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Oct 1;322(4):1310-7.

Deranged neuronal calcium signaling and Huntington disease.

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Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects medium spiny striatal neurons (MSN). HD is caused by polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion (exp) in the amino-terminal region of a protein huntingtin (Htt). The connection between polyQ expansion in Httexp and MSN neurodegeneration remains elusive. Here we discuss recent data that link polyQ expansion in Httexp and deranged Ca2+ signaling in MSN neurons. Experimental evidence indicates that (1) Ca2+ homeostasis is abnormal in mitochondria isolated from lymphoblasts of HD patients and from brains of the YAC72 HD mouse model; (2) Httexp leads to potentiation of NR1/NR2B NMDA receptor activity in heterologous expression systems and in MSN from YAC72 HD mouse model; and (3) Httexp binds to the type 1 inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (InsP3R1) carboxy-terminus and causes sensitization of InsP3R1 to activation by InsP3 in planar lipid bilayers and in MSN. Based on these results we propose that Httexp-induced cytosolic and mitochondrial Ca2+ overload of MSN plays an important role in the pathogenesis of HD and that Ca2+ signaling blockers may play a beneficial role in treatment of HD.

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