Michelle E Ehrlich

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Manhattan, New York, United States

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Publications (91)472.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Certain mutant Alzheimer’s amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides (that is, Dutch mutant APPE693Q) form complexes with gangliosides (GAβ). These mutant Aβ peptides may also undergo accelerated aggregation and accumulation upon exposure to GM2 and GM3. We hypothesized that increasing β-hexosaminidase (β-hex) activity would lead to a reduction in GM2 levels, which in turn, would cause a reduction in Aβ aggregation and accumulation. The small molecule OT1001 is a β-hex-targeted pharmacological chaperone with good bioavailability, blood–brain barrier penetration, high selectivity for β-hex and low cytotoxicity. Dutch APPE693Q transgenic mice accumulate oligomeric Aβ as they age, as well as Aβ oligomer-dose-dependent anxiety and impaired novel object recognition (NOR). Treatment of Dutch APPE693Q mice with OT1001 caused a dose-dependent increase in brain β-hex levels up to threefold over those observed at baseline. OT1001 treatment was associated with reduced anxiety, improved learning behavior in the NOR task and dramatically reduced GAβ accumulation in the subiculum and perirhinal cortex, both of which are brain regions required for normal NOR. Pharmacological chaperones that increase β-hex activity may be useful in reducing accumulation of certain mutant species of Aβ and in preventing the associated behavioral pathology.
    Molecular Psychiatry 10/2014; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mounting evidence suggests that soluble oligomers of amyloid-beta (oAbeta) represent the pertinent synaptotoxic form of Abeta in sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, the mechanistic links between oAbeta and synaptic degeneration remain elusive. Most in vivo experiments to date have been limited to examining the toxicity of oAbeta in mouse models that also possess insoluble fibrillar Abeta (fAbeta), and data generated from these models can lead to ambiguous interpretations. Our goal in the present study was to examine the effects of soluble oAbeta on neuronal and synaptic structure in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) E693Q ("Dutch") mouse model of AD, which develops intraneuronal accumulation of soluble oAbeta with no detectable plaques in AD-relevant brain regions. We performed quantitative analyses of neuronal pathology, including dendrite morphology, spine density, and synapse ultrastructure in individual hippocampal CA1 neurons.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 10/2014; 9(1):41. · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in THAP1 result in dystonia type 6, with partial penetrance and variable phenotype. The goal of this study was to examine the nature and expression pattern of the protein product(s) of the Thap1 transcription factor (DYT6 gene) in mouse neurons, and to study the regional and developmental distribution, and subcellular localization of Thap1 protein. The goal was accomplished via overexpression and knock-down of Thap1 in the HEK293T cell line and in mouse striatal primary cultures and western blotting of embryonic Thap1-null tissue. The endogenous and transduced Thap1 isoforms were characterized using three different commercially available anti-Thap1 antibodies and validated by immunoprecipitation and DNA oligonucleotide affinity chromatography. We identified multiple, novel Thap1 species of apparent Mr 32 kDa, 47 kDa, and 50¿52 kDa in vitro and in vivo, and verified the previously identified species at 29¿30 kDa in neurons. The Thap1 species at the 50 kDa size range was exclusively detected in murine brain and testes and were located in the nuclear compartment. Thus, in addition to the predicted 25 kDa apparent Mr, we identified Thap1 species with greater apparent Mr that we speculate may be a result of posttranslational modifications. The neural localization of the 50 kDa species and its nuclear compartmentalization suggests that these may be key Thap1 species controlling neuronal gene transcription. Dysfunction of the neuronal 50 kDa species may therefore be implicated in the pathogenesis of DYT6.
    Acta neuropathologica communications. 09/2014; 2(1):139.
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    ABSTRACT: Proneurogenic compounds have recently shown promise in some mouse models of Alzheimer's pathology. Antagonists at Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (Group II mGluR: mGlu2, mGlu3) are reported to stimulate neurogenesis. Agonists at those receptors trigger γ-secretase-inhibitor-sensitive biogenesis of Aβ42 peptides from isolated synaptic terminals, which is selectively suppressed by antagonist pretreatment. We have assessed the therapeutic potential of chronic pharmacological inhibition of Group II mGluR in Dutch APP (Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein E693Q) transgenic mice that accumulate Dutch amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers but never develop Aβ plaques. BCI-838 is a clinically well-tolerated, orally bioavailable, investigational prodrug that delivers to the brain BCI-632, the active Group II mGluR antagonist metabolite. Dutch Aβ-oligomer-forming APP transgenic mice (APP E693Q) were dosed with BCI-838 for 3 months. Chronic treatment with BCI-838 was associated with reversal of transgene-related amnestic behavior, reduction in anxiety, reduction in levels of brain Aβ monomers and oligomers, and stimulation of hippocampal neurogenesis. Group II mGluR inhibition may offer a unique package of relevant properties as an Alzheimer's disease therapeutic or prophylactic by providing both attenuation of neuropathology and stimulation of repair.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 12 August 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.87.
    Molecular psychiatry. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The high affinity tyrosine kinase receptor, TrkB, is the primary receptor for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and plays an important role in development, maintenance and plasticity of the striatal output medium size spiny neuron. The striatal BDNF/TrkB system is thereby implicated in many physiologic and pathophysiologic processes, the latter including mood disorders, addiction, and Huntington's disease. We crossed a mouse harboring a transgene directing cre-recombinase expression primarily to postnatal, dorsal striatal medium spiny neurons, to a mouse containing a floxed TrkB allele (fB) mouse designed for deletion of TrkB to determine its role in the adult striatum. We found that there were sexually dimorphic alterations in behaviors in response to stressful situations and drugs of abuse. Significant sex and/or genotype differences were found in the forced swim test of depression-like behaviors, anxiety-like behaviors on the elevated plus maze, and cocaine conditioned reward. Microarray analysis of dorsal striatum revealed significant dysregulation in individual and groups of genes that may contribute to the observed behavioral responses and in some cases, represent previously unidentified downstream targets of TrkB. The data point to a set of behaviors and changes in gene expression following postnatal deletion of TrkB in the dorsal striatum distinct from those in other brain regions.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 12/2013; 8(1):47. · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progressive cell loss is observed in the striatum, cerebral cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, subthalamic nucleus and hippocampus in Huntington disease. In the striatum, dopamine-responsive medium spiny neurons are preferentially lost. Clinical features include involuntary movements, gait and orofacial impairments in addition to cognitive deficits and psychosis, anxiety and mood disorders. We utilized the Cre-LoxP system to generate mutant mice with selective postnatal ablation of D1 dopamine receptor-expressing striatal neurons to determine which elements of the complex Huntington disease phenotype relate to loss of this neuronal subpopulation. Mutant mice had reduced bodyweight, locomotor slowing, reduced rearing, ataxia, a short stride length wide-based erratic gait, impairment in orofacial movements and displayed haloperidol-suppressible tic-like movements. The mutation was associated with an anxiolytic profile. Mutant mice had significant striatal-specific atrophy and astrogliosis. D1-expressing cell number was reduced throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the dorsal striatum consistent with partial destruction of the striatonigral pathway. Additional striatal changes included up-regulated D2 and enkephalin mRNA, and an increased density of D2 and preproenkephalin-expressing projection neurons, and striatal neuropeptide Y and cholinergic interneurons. These data suggest that striatal D1-cell-ablation alone may account for the involuntary movements and locomotor, balance and orofacial deficits seen not only in HD but also in HD phenocopy syndromes with striatal atrophy. Therapeutic strategies would therefore need to target striatal D1 cells to ameliorate deficits especially when the clinical presentation is dominated by a bradykinetic/ataxic phenotype with involuntary movements.
    Neurobiology of Disease 10/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mice generated by a Cre/LoxP transgenic paradigm were used to model neurodegenerative basal ganglia disease of which Huntington disease (HD) is the prototypical example. In HD, death occurs in striatal projection neurons as well as cortical neurons. Cortical and striatal neurons that express the D1 dopamine receptor (Drd1a) degenerate in HD. The contribution that death of specific neuronal cell populations makes to the HD disease phenotype and the response of the brain to loss of defined cell subtypes is largely unknown. Drd1a-expressing cells were targeted for cell death and three independent lines generated; a striatal-restricted line, a cortical-restricted line and a global line in which Drd1a cells were deleted from both the striatum and cortex. Two independent experimental approaches were used. In the first, the proliferative marker Ki-67 was used to identify proliferating cells in eighty-week-old mice belonging to a generic global line, a global in which Drd1a cells express green fluorescent protein (GFP-global) and in eighty-week-old mice of a cortical line. In the second experiment, the proliferative response of four-week-old mice belonging to GFP-global and striatal lines was assessed using the thymidine analogue BrdU. The phenotype of proliferating cells was ascertained by double staining for BrdU and Olig2 (an oligodendrocyte marker), Iba1 (a microglial cell marker), S100beta (an astroglial cell marker), or NeuN (a neuronal cell marker). In the first study, we found that Ki-67-expressing cells were restricted to the striatal side of the lateral ventricles. Control mice had a greater number of Ki-67+ cells than mutant mice. There was no overlap between Ki-67 and GFP staining in control or mutant mice, suggesting that cells did not undergo cell division once they acquired a Drd1a phenotype. In contrast, in the second study we found that BrdU+ cells were identified throughout the cortex, striatum and periventricular region of control and mutant mice. Mutant mice from the GFP-global line showed increased BrdU+ cells in the cortex, striatum and periventricular region relative to control. Striatal line mutant mice had an increased number of BrdU+ cells in the striatum and periventricular region, but not the cortex. The number of microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons generated from dividing progenitors was increased relative to control mice in most brain regions in mutant mice from the GFP-global line. In contrast, striatal line mutant mice displayed an increase only in the number of dividing microglia in striatal and periventricular regions. Genetically programmed post-natal ablation of Drd1a-expressing neurons is associated with an extensive proliferative response involving multiple cell lineages. The nature of the tissue response has the potential not only to remove cellular debris but also to forge physiologically meaningful brain repair. Age related deficits in proliferation are seen in mutant lines. A blunted endogenous reparative response may underlie the cumulative deficits characteristic of age related neurodegeneration.
    BMC Neuroscience 10/2013; 14(1):111. · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have linked synaptojanin 1 (synj1), the main phosphoinositol (4,5) biphosphate phosphatase [PI(4,5)P2 degrading enzyme] in the brain and synapses (1), to AD (2,3). Here we report a novel mechanism by which synj1 reversely regulates cellular clearance of Abeta. Genetic down-regulation of synj1 expression reduces both extracellular and intracellular Abeta levels in N2a cells stably expressing the Swedish mutant of APP. Moreover, synj1 haploinsufficiency in an AD transgenic mouse model expressing the Swedish mutant APP and the presenilin-1 (PS1) mutant deltaE9 reduces amyloid plaque load, as well as Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels in hippocampal regions of 9-month old animals. Reduced expression of synj1 attenuates cognitive deficits in these transgenic mice. However, reduction of synj1 does not affect levels of holoAPP and betaCTF, suggesting that Abeta generation by beta- and gamma-secretase cleavage is not affected. Instead, synj1 knockdown increases Abeta uptake and cellular degradation through accelerated delivery to lysosomes. These effects are partially dependent upon elevated PI(4,5)P2 with synj1 down-regulation. In summary, these data suggest a novel mechanism by which reduction of a PI(4,5)P2 degrading enzyme, synj1 improves amyloid induced neuropathology and behavior deficits through accelerating cellular Abeta clearance.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endosomal sorting of the Alzheimer amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a key role in the biogenesis of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Genetic lesions underlying Alzheimer's disease (AD) can act by interfering with this physiological process. Specifically, proteins involved in trafficking between endosomal compartments and the trans-Golgi network (TGN) [including the retromer complex (Vps35, Vps26) and its putative receptors (sortilin, SorL1, SorCS1)] have been implicated in the molecular pathology of late-onset AD. Previously, we demonstrated a role for SorCS1 in APP metabolism and Aβ production and, while we implicated a role for the retromer in this regulation, the underlying mechanism remained poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence for a motif within the SorCS1c cytoplasmic tail that, when manipulated, results in perturbed sorting of APP and/or its fragments to endosomal compartments, decreased retrograde TGN trafficking, and increased Aβ production in H4 neuroglioma cells. These perturbations apparently do not involve turnover of the cell surface APP pool, but rather they involve intracellular APP and/or its fragments, downstream of APP endocytosis.
    Journal of Neuroscience 04/2013; 33(16):7099-7107. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurotrophins and modifiers of chromatin acetylation and deacetylation participate in regulation of transcription during neuronal maturation and maintenance. The striatal medium spiny neuron is supported by cortically-derived brain derived neurotrophic factor and is the most vulnerable neuron in Huntington's disease, in which growth factor and histone deacetylase activity are both disrupted. We examined the ability of three histone deacetylase inhibitors, trichostatin A, valproic acid and Compound 4 b, alone and combined with brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), to promote phenotypic maturation of striatal medium spiny neurons in vitro. Exposure of these neurons to each of the three compounds led to an increase in overall histone H3 and H4 acetylation, dopamine and cyclic AMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32 kDa (DARPP-32) mRNA and protein, and mRNA levels of other markers of medium spiny neuron maturation. We were, however, unable to prove that HDAC inhibitors directly lead to remodeling of Ppp1r1b chromatin. In addition, induction of DARPP-32 by brain-derived neurotrophic factor was inhibited by histone deacetylase inhibitors. Although BDNF-induced increases in pTrkB, pAkt, pERK and Egr-1 were unchanged by combined application with VPA, the increase in DARPP-32 was relatively diminished. Strikingly, the NGF1A-binding protein, Nab2, was induced by BDNF, but not in the presence of VPA or TSA. Gel shift analysis showed that α-Nab2 super-shifted a band that is more prominent with extract derived from BDNF-treated neurons than with extracts from cultures treated with VPA alone or VPA plus BDNF. In addition, overexpression of Nab2 induced DARPP-32. We conclude that histone deacetylase inhibitors inhibit the induction of Nab2 by BDNF, and thereby the relative induction of DARPP-32.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76842. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by repetitive twisting muscle contractions and postures. Its molecular pathophysiology is poorly understood, in part owing to limited knowledge of the genetic basis of the disorder. Only three genes for primary torsion dystonia (PTD), TOR1A (DYT1), THAP1 (DYT6) and CIZ1 (ref. 5), have been identified. Using exome sequencing in two families with PTD, we identified a new causative gene, GNAL, with a nonsense mutation encoding p.Ser293* resulting in a premature stop codon in one family and a missense mutation encoding p.Val137Met in the other. Screening of GNAL in 39 families with PTD identified 6 additional new mutations in this gene. Impaired function of several of the mutants was shown by bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) assays.
    Nature Genetics 12/2012; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Latrepirdine (Dimebon™), an anti-histamine, has shown some benefits in trials of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by accumulation of aggregated or misfolded protein such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and has been shown to promote the removal of α-synuclein protein aggregates in vivo. An important pathway for removal of aggregated or misfolded proteins is the autophagy-lysosomal pathway, which has been implicated in AD pathogenesis, and enhancing this pathway has been shown to have therapeutic potential in AD and other proteinopathies. Here we use a yeast model, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to investigate whether latrepirdine can enhance autophagy and reduce levels of amyloid-β (Aβ)42 aggregates. Latrepirdine was shown to upregulate yeast vacuolar (lysosomal) activity and promote transport of the autophagic marker (Atg8) to the vacuole. Using an in vitro green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged Aβ yeast expression system, we investigated whether latrepirdine-enhanced autophagy was associated with a reduction in levels of intracellular GFP-Aβ42. GFP-Aβ42 was localized into punctate patterns compared to the diffuse cytosolic pattern of GFP and the GFP-Aβ42 (19 : 34), which does not aggregate. In the autophagy deficient mutant (Atg8Δ), GFP-Aβ42 showed a more diffuse cytosolic localization, reflecting the inability of this mutant to sequester GFP-Aβ42. Similar to rapamycin, we observed that latrepirdine significantly reduced GFP-Aβ42 in wild-type compared to the Atg8Δ mutant. Further, latrepirdine treatment attenuated Aβ42-induced toxicity in wild-type cells but not in the Atg8Δ mutant. Together, our findings provide evidence for a novel mechanism of action for latrepirdine in inducing autophagy and reducing intracellular levels of GFP-Aβ42.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2012; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Latrepirdine (Dimebon; dimebolin) is a neuroactive compound that was associated with enhanced cognition, neuroprotection and neurogenesis in laboratory animals, and has entered phase II clinical trials for both Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease (HD). Based on recent indications that latrepirdine protects cells against cytotoxicity associated with expression of aggregatable neurodegeneration-related proteins, including Aβ42 and γ-synuclein, we sought to determine whether latrepirdine offers protection to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We utilized separate and parallel expression in yeast of several neurodegeneration-related proteins, including α-synuclein (α-syn), the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated genes TDP43 and FUS, and the HD-associated protein huntingtin with a 103 copy-polyglutamine expansion (HTT gene; htt-103Q). Latrepirdine effects on α-syn clearance and toxicity were also measured following treatment of SH-SY5Y cells or chronic treatment of wild-type mice. Latrepirdine only protected yeast against the cytotoxicity associated with α-syn, and this appeared to occur via induction of autophagy. We further report that latrepirdine stimulated the degradation of α-syn in differentiated SH-SY5Y neurons, and in mouse brain following chronic administration, in parallel with elevation of the levels of markers of autophagic activity. Ongoing experiments will determine the utility of latrepirdine to abrogate α-syn accumulation in transgenic mouse models of α-syn neuropathology. We propose that latrepirdine may represent a novel scaffold for discovery of robust pro-autophagic/anti-neurodegeneration compounds, which might yield clinical benefit for synucleinopathies including Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder and/or multiple system atrophy, following optimization of its pro-autophagic and pro-neurogenic activities.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 7 August 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.115.
    Molecular Psychiatry 08/2012; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Latrepirdine (Dimebon) is a pro-neurogenic, antihistaminic compound that has yielded mixed results in clinical trials of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, with a dramatically positive outcome in a Russian clinical trial that was unconfirmed in a replication trial in the United States. We sought to determine whether latrepirdine (LAT)-stimulated amyloid precursor protein (APP) catabolism is at least partially attributable to regulation of macroautophagy, a highly conserved protein catabolism pathway that is known to be impaired in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). We utilized several mammalian cellular models to determine whether LAT regulates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and Atg5-dependent autophagy. Male TgCRND8 mice were chronically administered LAT prior to behavior analysis in the cued and contextual fear conditioning paradigm, as well as immunohistological and biochemical analysis of AD-related neuropathology. Treatment of cultured mammalian cells with LAT led to enhanced mTOR- and Atg5-dependent autophagy. Latrepirdine treatment of TgCRND8 transgenic mice was associated with improved learning behavior and with a reduction in accumulation of Aβ42 and α-synuclein. We conclude that LAT possesses pro-autophagic properties in addition to the previously reported pro-neurogenic properties, both of which are potentially relevant to the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. We suggest that elucidation of the molecular mechanism(s) underlying LAT effects on neurogenesis, autophagy and behavior might warranty the further study of LAT as a potentially viable lead compound that might yield more consistent clinical benefit following the optimization of its pro-neurogenic, pro-autophagic and/or pro-cognitive activities.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 31 July 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.106.
    Molecular Psychiatry 07/2012; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DARPP-32 (dopamine and adenosine 3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32 kDa) is a striatal-enriched protein that mediates signaling by dopamine and other first messengers in the medium spiny neurons. The transcriptional mechanisms that regulate striatal DARPP-32 expression remain enigmatic and are a subject of much interest in the efforts to induce a striatal phenotype in stem cells. We report the identification and characterization of a conserved region, also known as H10, in intron IV of the gene that codes for DARPP-32 (Ppp1r1b). This DNA sequence forms multiunit complexes with nuclear proteins from adult and embryonic striata of mice and rats. Purification of proteins from these complexes identified early growth response-1 (Egr-1). The interaction between Egr-1 and H10 was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by super-shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, respectively. Importantly, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a known inducer of DARPP-32 and Egr-1 expression, enhanced Egr-1 binding to H10 in vitro. Moreover, overexpression of Egr-1 in primary striatal neurons induced the expression of DARPP-32, whereas a dominant-negative Egr-1 blocked DARPP-32 induction by BDNF. Together, this study identifies Egr-1 as a transcriptional activator of the Ppp1r1b gene and provides insight into the molecular mechanisms that regulate medium spiny neuron maturation.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2012; 32(20):6808-18. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    Michelle E Ehrlich
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    ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by a mutation in the gene encoding the protein huntingtin on chromosome 4. The mutation is an expanded CAG repeat in the first exon, encoding a polyglutamine tract. If the polyglutamine tract is > 40, penetrance is 100% and death is inevitable. Despite the widespread expression of huntingtin, HD has long been considered primarily as a disease of the striatum. It is characterized by selective vulnerability with dysfunction followed by death of the medium size spiny neuron. Considerable effort is being expended to determine whether striatal damage is cell-autonomous, non-cell-autonomous, requiring cell-cell and region to region communication, or both. We review data supporting both mechanisms. We also attempt to organize the data into common mechanisms that may arise outside the medium, spiny neuron, but ultimately have their greatest impact in the striatum.
    Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 03/2012; 9(2):270-84. · 5.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CAG trinucleotide repeat mutation in the Huntington's disease gene (HTT) exhibits age-dependent tissue-specific expansion that correlates with disease onset in patients, implicating somatic expansion as a disease modifier and potential therapeutic target. Somatic HTT CAG expansion is critically dependent on proteins in the mismatch repair (MMR) pathway. To gain further insight into mechanisms of somatic expansion and the relationship of somatic expansion to the disease process in selectively vulnerable MSNs we have crossed HTT CAG knock-in mice (HdhQ111) with mice carrying a conditional (floxed) Msh2 allele and D9-Cre transgenic mice, in which Cre recombinase is expressed specifically in MSNs within the striatum. Deletion of Msh2 in MSNs eliminated Msh2 protein in those neurons. We demonstrate that MSN-specific deletion of Msh2 was sufficient to eliminate the vast majority of striatal HTT CAG expansions in HdhQ111 mice. Furthermore, MSN-specific deletion of Msh2 modified two mutant huntingtin phenotypes: the early nuclear localization of diffusely immunostaining mutant huntingtin was slowed; and the later development of intranuclear huntingtin inclusions was dramatically inhibited. Therefore, Msh2 acts within MSNs as a genetic enhancer both of somatic HTT CAG expansions and of HTT CAG-dependent phenotypes in mice. These data suggest that the selective vulnerability of MSNs may be at least in part contributed by the propensity for somatic expansion in these neurons, and imply that intervening in the expansion process is likely to have therapeutic benefit.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e44273. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Michelle E Ehrlich, Sam Gandy
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2011; 108(41):16867-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The transcription factor cAMP responsive element-binding protein 1 (CREB1) has a complex influence on behavioural responses to drugs of abuse which varies depending on the brain region in which it is expressed. In response to drug exposure, CREB1 is phosphorylated in the striatum, a structure that is critically involved in reward-related learning. The present study assessed the role of striatal CREB1 and its coactivator CREB-binding protein (CBP) in behavioural responses to psychostimulants. Using the 'cre/lox' recombination system, we generated mice with a postnatal deletion of CREB1 or CBP directed to medium spiny neurons of the striatum. qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to confirm the deletion, and mice were assessed with respect to their locomotor response to acute cocaine (20 mg/kg), cocaine sensitization (10 mg/kg), amphetamine-induced stereotypies (10 mg/kg) and ethanol-induced hypnosis (3.5 g/kg). Here we show that CREB1 mutant mice have increased sensitivity to psychostimulants, an effect that does not generalise to ethanol-induced hypnosis. Furthermore, in the absence of CREB1, there is rapid postnatal upregulation of the related transcription factor CREM, indicating possible redundancy amongst this family of transcription factors. Finally striatal deletion of CBP, a coactivator for the CREB1/CREM signalling pathway, results in an even more increased sensitivity to psychostimulants. These data suggest that striatal CREB1 regulates sensitivity to psychostimulants and that CREM acting via CBP is able to partially compensate in the absence of CREB1 signalling.
    Psychopharmacology 07/2011; 219(3):699-713. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HD (Huntington's disease) is characterized by dysfunction and death of striatal MSNs (medium-sized spiny neurons). Excitotoxicity, transcriptional dysregulation and mitochondrial abnormalities are among the mechanisms that are proposed to play roles in HD pathogenesis. To determine the extent of cell-autonomous effects of mhtt (mutant huntingtin) protein on vulnerability to excitotoxic insult in MSNs in vivo, we measured the number of degenerating neurons in response to intrastriatal injection of QA (quinolinic acid) in presymptomatic and symptomatic transgenic (D9-N171-98Q, also known as DE5) mice that express mhtt in MSNs but not in cortex. After QA, the number of degenerating neurons in presymptomatic DE5 mice was not significantly different from the number in WT (wild-type) controls, suggesting the early, increased vulnerability to excitotoxicity demonstrated in other HD mouse models has a largely non-cell-autonomous component. Conversely, symptomatic DE5 mice showed significantly fewer degenerating neurons relative to WT, implying the resistance to excitotoxicity observed at later ages has a primarily cell-autonomous origin. Interestingly, mitochondrial complex II respiration was enhanced in striatum of symptomatic mice, whereas it was reduced in presymptomatic mice, both relative to their age-matched controls. Consistent with the QA data, MSNs from symptomatic mice showed decreased NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) currents compared with age-matched controls, suggesting that in addition to aging, cell-autonomous mechanisms mitigate susceptibility to excitotoxicity in the symptomatic stage. Also, symptomatic DE5 mice did not display some of the electrophysiological alterations present in other HD models, suggesting that blocking the expression of mhtt in cortical neurons may restore corticostriatal function in HD.
    ASN Neuro 05/2011; 3(3):e00060. · 3.64 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
472.03 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2014
    • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences
      Manhattan, New York, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Melbourne
      • Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2005–2012
    • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
      • Department of Neurology
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1989–2012
    • The Rockefeller University
      • Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2011
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
      La Jolla, CA, United States
    • Nihon University
      • Advanced Research Institute for the Sciences and Humanities
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2004–2010
    • Thomas Jefferson University
      • • Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
      • • Farber Institute for Neurosciences
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • New York University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2004–2008
    • Temple University
      • • Center for Substance Abuse Research (CSAR)
      • • Department of Pharmacology
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 1999–2004
    • Nathan Kline Institute
      Orangeburg, New York, United States
  • 1995–1997
    • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
      • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
      Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 1990
    • Roche Institute of Molecular Biology
      Nutley, New Jersey, United States
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Institutionen för neurovetenskap
      Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1989–1990
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Neurology and Neuroscience
      Ithaca, New York, United States