[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a late-onset, neurodegenerative disease for which there are currently no cures nor disease-modifying treatments. Here we report the identification of several potential anti-inflammatory targets for HD using an ex vivo model of HD that involves the acute transfection of human mutant huntingtin-based constructs into rat brain slices. This model recapitulates key components of the human disease, including the formation of intracellular huntingtin protein (HTT)-containing inclusions and the progressive neurodegeneration of striatal neurons-both occurring within the native tissue context of these neurons. Using this "high-throughput biology" screening platform, we conducted a hypothesis-neutral screen of a collection of drug-like compounds which identified several anti-inflammatory targets that provided neuroprotection against HTT fragment-induced neurodegeneration. The nature of these targets provide further support for non-cell autonomous mechanisms mediating significant aspects of neuropathogenesis induced by mutant HTT fragment proteins.
Neurobiology of Disease 03/2011; 43(1):248-56. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway potentially links together the three major pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD): development of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and brain atrophy. As activation of the JNK pathway has been observed in amyloid models of AD in association with peri-plaque regions and neuritic dystrophy, as we confirm here for Tg2576/PS(M146L) transgenic mice, we directly tested whether JNK inhibition could provide neuroprotection in a novel brain slice model for amyloid precursor protein (APP)-induced neurodegeneration. We found that APP/amyloid beta (Abeta)-induced neurodegeneration is blocked by both small molecule and peptide inhibitors of JNK, and provide evidence that this neuroprotection occurs downstream of APP/Abeta production and processing. Our findings demonstrate that Abeta can induce neurodegeneration, at least in part, through the JNK pathway and suggest that inhibition of JNK may be of therapeutic utility in the treatment of AD.
Neurobiology of Disease 05/2010; 39(3):311-7. · 5.62 Impact Factor