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Dis Model Mech. 2009 Mar-Apr;2(3-4):123-9. doi: 10.1242/dmm.002451.

Mouse models of Huntington disease: variations on a theme.

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  • 1Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Department of Medical Genetics, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


An accepted prerequisite for clinical trials of a compound in humans is the successful alleviation of the disease in animal models. For some diseases, however, successful translation of drug effects from mouse models to the bedside has been limited. One question is whether the current models accurately reproduce the human disease. Here, we examine the mouse models that are available for therapeutic testing in Huntington disease (HD), a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no effective treatment. The current mouse models show different degrees of similarity to the human condition. Significant phenotypic differences are seen in mouse models that express either truncated or full-length human, or full-length mouse, mutant huntingtin (mHTT). These differences in phenotypic expression may be attributable to the influences of protein context, mouse strain and a difference in regulatory sequences between the mouse Htt and human HTT genes.

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