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Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Jun 15;22(12):2462-70. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddt098. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Small-molecule TrkB receptor agonists improve motor function and extend survival in a mouse model of Huntington's disease.

Author information

1
Division of Neurobiology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.

Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by abnormal motor coordination, cognitive decline and psychiatric disorders. This disease is caused by an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat in the gene encoding the protein huntingtin. Reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain, which results from transcriptional inhibition and axonal transport deficits mediated by mutant huntingtin, have been suggested as critical factors underlying selective neurodegeneration in both HD patients and HD mouse models. BDNF activates its high-affinity receptor TrkB and promotes neuronal survival; restoring BDNF signaling is thus of particular therapeutic interest. In the present study, we evaluated the ability of a small-molecule TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) and its synthetic derivative 4'-dimethylamino-7,8- dihydroxyflavone (4'-DMA-7,8-DHF) to protect neurons in the well-characterized N171-82Q HD mouse model. We found that chronic administration of 7, 8-DHF (5 mg/kg) or 4'-DMA-7,8-DHF (1 mg/kg) significantly improved motor deficits, ameliorated brain atrophy and extended survival in these N171-82Q HD mice. Moreover, 4'-DMA-7,8-DHF preserved DARPP32 levels in the striatum and rescued mutant huntingtin-induced impairment of neurogenesis in the N171-82Q HD mice. These data highlight consideration of TrkB as a therapeutic target in HD and suggest that small-molecule TrkB agonists that penetrate the brain have high potential to be further tested in clinical trials of HD.

PMID:
23446639
PMCID:
PMC3658168
DOI:
10.1093/hmg/ddt098
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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