Genetic mouse models of Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases: illuminating but imperfect.
ABSTRACT Genetic mouse models based on identification of genes that cause Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases have revolutionized understanding of the mechanistic pathophysiological progression of these disorders. These models allow the earliest manifestations of the diseases to be identified, and they display behavioral, neuropathological and electrophysiological deficits that can be followed over time in mechanistic and drug studies. An intriguing feature is that they do not reproduce the relatively selective and massive cell loss characterizing the human diseases. There is more information on Huntington's disease models because the disorder involves a single gene that was identified over ten years ago; genetic mutations causing Parkinson's disease are rare and were discovered more recently, and models of the disease have been generated only within the past few years.
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ABSTRACT: Stimulation of dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) and adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) increases cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) activity in the brain. In Huntington's disease, by essentially unknown mechanisms, PKA activity is increased in the hippocampus of mouse models and patients and contributes to hippocampal-dependent cognitive impairment in R6 mice. Here, we show for the first time that D1R and A2AR density and functional efficiency are increased in hippocampal nerve terminals from R6/1 mice, which accounts for increased cAMP levels and PKA signaling. In contrast, PKA signaling was not altered in the hippocampus of Hdh(Q7/Q111) mice, a full-length HD model. In line with these findings, chronic (but not acute) combined treatment with D1R plus A2AR antagonists (SCH23390 and SCH58261, respectively) normalizes PKA activity in the hippocampus, facilitates long-term potentiation in behaving R6/1 mice, and ameliorates cognitive dysfunction. By contrast, chronic treatment with either D1R or A2AR antagonist alone does not modify PKA activity or improve cognitive dysfunction in R6/1 mice. Hyperactivation of both D1R and A2AR occurs in HD striatum and chronic treatment with D1R plus A2AR antagonists normalizes striatal PKA activity but it does not affect motor dysfunction in R6/1 mice. In conclusion, we show that parallel alterations in dopaminergic and adenosinergic signaling in the hippocampus contribute to increase PKA activity, which in turn selectively participates in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory deficits in HD. In addition, our results point to the chronic inhibition of both D1R and A2AR as a novel therapeutic strategy to manage early cognitive impairment in this neurodegenerative disease. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.Neurobiology of Disease 11/2014; 74C:41-57. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Brain dysfunction precedes clinical manifestation of Huntington’s disease (HD) by decades. This study was aimed to determine whether resting EEG is altered in preclinical HD mutations carriers (pre-HD). Methods We examined relative power of broad traditional EEG bands as well as 1-Hz sub-bands of theta and alpha from the resting-state EEG of 29 pre-HD individuals and of 29 age-matched normal controls. Results The relative power of the narrow sub-band in the border of theta-alpha (7-8 Hz) was significantly reduced in pre-HD subjects as compared to normal controls, while the alterations in relative power of the broad frequency bands were not significant. In pre-HD subjects, the number of CAG repeats in the huntingtin (HTT) gene as well as the disease burden score (DBS) showed a positive correlation with relative power of the delta and theta frequency bands and their sub-bands and a negative correlation with alpha band relative power and the differences of relative power of the 7-8 Hz and 4-5 Hz frequency sub-bands. Conclusion The obtained results suggest that EEG alterations in pre-HD individuals may be related to the course of the pathological process and to HD endophenotype. Analysis of the narrow EEG bands was found to be more useful for assessing EEG alterations in pre-HD individuals than a more traditional approach using broad bandwidths.Journal of the Neurological Sciences 09/2014; · 2.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that profoundly impairs corticostriatal information processing. While late stage pathology includes cell death, the appearance of motor symptoms parallels more subtle changes in neuronal function and synaptic integration. Because of the difficulty in modeling the disease and the complexity of the corticostriatal network, understanding the mechanisms driving pathology has been slow to develop. In recent years, advances in animal models and network analysis tools have begun to shed light on the circuit-specific deficits. These studies have revealed a progressive impairment of corticostriatal synaptic signaling in subpopulations of striatal neurons, turning classical excitotoxicity models of HD upside down. Disrupted brain derived neurotrophic factor signaling appears to be a key factor in this decline. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Current opinion in neurobiology. 02/2015; 33C:53-62.