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Huntingtin protein colocalizes with lesions of neurodegenerative diseases: An investigation in Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Pick's diseases

Singhrao, S. K., Thomas, P., Wood, D. J., MacMillan, J. C., Neal, J. W., Harper, P. S. and Jones, Lesley ORCID: 1998. Huntingtin protein colocalizes with lesions of neurodegenerative diseases: An investigation in Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Pick's diseases. Experimental Neurology 150 (2) , pp. 213-222. 10.1006/exnr.1998.6778

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Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease associated with a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion in a large gene on chromosome 4. The gene encodes the protein huntingtin with a polyglutamine tract encoded by the CAG repeat at the N-terminus. The number of CAG repeats in HD are significantly increased (36 to 120+) compared with the normal population (8-39). The pathological mechanism associated with the expanded CAG repeat in HD is not clear but there is evidence that polyglutamine is directly neurotoxic. We have immunolocalized huntingtin with an in-house, well-characterised, polyclonal antibody in HD, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Picks disease (PiD) brains. Control brain tissue sections were from head injured and cerebral ischaemia cases. In HD, huntingtin was immunopositive in the surviving but damaged neurons and reactive astrocytes of the caudate and putamen. However, in AD and PiD the immunostaining was largely restricted to the characteristic intracellular inclusion bodies associated with the disease process in each case. In AD, huntingtin was localized only in the intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and dystrophic neurites within the neuritic amyloid plaques but not with the amyloid. In PiD, strongly positive huntingtin immunostaining was present within cytoplasmic Pick bodies. Our findings suggest huntingtin selectively accumulates in association with abnormal intracytoplasmic and cytoskeletal filaments of neurons and glia in neurodegenerative diseases such as HD, AD, and PiD. Cells in the CNS appear sensitive to damage by the aggregated, toxic levels of huntingtin and evidence of its interaction with neurofilaments could provide information about its potential role in the aetiology of HD.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0014-4886
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2023 03:01

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