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Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Jan;1864(1):34-44. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.09.009. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Characterization of subventricular zone-derived progenitor cells from mild and late symptomatic YAC128 mouse model of Huntington's disease.

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CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal.
CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal; Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (IIIUC), University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4, Canada.
CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal; FMUC-Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal. Electronic address:


Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by an expansion of CAG repeats in the HTT gene, leading to expression of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) and selective striatal neuronal loss, frequently associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased support of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). New neurons derived from the subventricular zone (SVZ) are apparently not able to rescue HD pathological features. Thus, we analyzed proliferation, migration and differentiation of adult SVZ-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPC) from mild (6month-old (mo)) and late (10mo) symptomatic HD YAC128 mice expressing full-length (FL)-mHTT versus age-matched wild-type (WT) mice. SVZ cells derived from 6mo YAC128 mice exhibited higher migratory capacity and a higher number of MAP2+ and synaptophysin+cells, compared to WT cells; MAP2 labeling was enhanced after exposure to BDNF. However, BDNF-evoked neuronal differentiation was not observed in 10mo YAC128 SVZ-derived cells. Interestingly, 6mo YAC128 SVZ-derived cells showed increased intracellular Ca2+ levels in response to KCl, which was potentiated by BDNF, evidencing the presence of differentiated neurons. In contrast, KCl depolarization-induced intracellular Ca2+ increase in 10mo YAC128 SVZ-derived cells was shown to be increased only in BDNF-treated YAC128 SVZ-derived cells, suggestive of decreased differentiation capacity. In addition, BDNF-untreated NSPC from 10mo YAC128 mice exhibited lower mitochondrial membrane potential and increased mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation, in relation with NSPC from 6mo YAC128 mice. Data evidence age-dependent reduced migration and decreased acquisition of a neuronal phenotype, accompanied by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential in SVZ-derived cells from YAC128 mice through HD symptomatic phases.


BDNF; Calcium handling; Mitochondrial membrane potential; Mutant huntingtin; Neurospheres; Subventricular zone; YAC128 mice

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