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Ann Neurol. 1983 May;13(5):519-26.

Somatostatin is increased in the basal ganglia in Huntington disease.


Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant hereditary disorder characterized by premature cell death, predominantly in the neostriatum. Decreased concentrations of several neurotransmitters and neuropeptides have been reported in the basal ganglia in Huntington disease. We now report that concentrations of radioimmunoassayable somatostatin are increased in extracts of the caudate (mean +/- standard error of the mean, ng/gm net weight; 247 +/- 24 versus 85 +/- 11), putamen (275 +/- 48 versus 74 +/- 11), external globus pallidus (100 +/- 10 versus 27 +/- 6), and internal globus pallidus (108 +/- 21 versus 21 +/- 8) in the disease. The concentrations of immunoreactive substance P measured in the same extracts were markedly reduced in caudate (mean +/- standard error of the mean, pmol/gm wet weight; 25 +/- 3 versus 109 +/- 20), putamen (28 +/- 7 versus 88 +/- 28), external globus pallidus (39 +/- 9 versus 196 +/- 62), and internal globus pallidus (60 +/- 17 versus 263 +/- 39), as well as in both subdivisions of the substantia nigra. Gel permeation chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography showed radioimmunoassayable somatostatin to include peptides with physicochemical properties of the tetradecapeptide somatostatin and larger substances, including somatostatin-28-like material. A single peak of immunoreactive substance P corresponding to synthetic substance P was found by high performance liquid chromatography. These results suggest that immunoassayable somatostatin-containing neuronal elements in the neostriatum and globus pallidus in Huntington disease are affected differentially by the disease process from neurons that contain immunoreactive substance P.

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