Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurochem. 2008 Feb;104(3):846-58. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

Sensitive biochemical aggregate detection reveals aggregation onset before symptom development in cellular and murine models of Huntington's disease.

Author information

Neuroscience Discovery, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel, Switzerland.


A CAG-repeat gene expansion translated into a pathogenic polyglutamine stretch at the N-terminus of huntingtin triggers Huntington's Disease. Mutated huntingtin is predicted to adopt toxic properties mainly if aggregation-prone N-terminal fragments are released by proteolysis. Huntingtin-aggregates are indeed a major hallmark of this disorder and could represent useful markers of disease-onset or progression. We designed a simple method for qualitative and quantitative characterization of aggregates. For this, we analyzed samples from in vitro and in vivo Huntington's Disease models by agarose gel electrophoresis and showed that in the brain of transgenic mice huntingtin-aggregates became larger as a function of disease progression. This appears to be a property of cytoplasmic but not nuclear aggregates. In cell cultures, treatment with Congo Red inhibited aggregate growth but not total load. Finally, we showed that in primary striatal neurons and in brains of R6/2 and HdhQ150 mice, the presence of aggregates preceded initiation of any other functional deficits. This observation argues for a pathogenic role of huntingtin-aggregation in Huntington's Disease. Our results emphasize that thorough analysis of huntingtin metabolism and aggregation is now feasible, thus significantly improving the power of studies assessing therapies designed to lower huntingtin levels or to interfere with its aggregation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center