Drug reduces brain changes, motor deficits associated with Huntington’s disease

Share via AddThis
Posted on November 28, 2013

A drug that acts like a growth-promoting protein in the brain reduces degeneration and motor deficits associated with Huntington’s disease in two mouse models of the disorder, according to a study appearing November 27 in the Journal of Neuroscience. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that protecting or boosting neurotrophins—the molecules that support the survival and function of nerve cells—may slow the progression of Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Huntington’s disease is a brain disorder characterized by the emergence of decreased motor, cognitive, and psychiatric abilities, most commonly appearing in the mid-30s and 40s. The disease is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to abnormal clumps of protein in the brain, eventually resulting in the atrophy and death of nerve cells. While there are drugs to alleviate some symptoms of the disease, there are currently no therapies to delay the onset or slow its progression.

Previous studies of people with Huntington’s disease point to a link between low levels of a neurotrophin called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and symptoms of the disorder. In the current study, Frank Longo, MD, PhD, and others at Stanford University, tested LM22A-4, a drug that specifically binds to and activates the BDNF receptor TrkB on nerve cells, in mice that model the disorder. They found LM22A-4 reduces abnormal protein accumulation, delays nerve cell degeneration, and improves motor skills in the animals. The findings support other recent rodent studies that showed drugs that enhance the action of BDNF can reduce brain changes and symptoms of Huntington’s disease.

Read more at: Phys.org



37,775 science & technology articles

Categories

Our Articles (see all)

General News

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   StumbleUpon   Plurk
Google+   Tumblr   Delicious   RSS   Newsletter via Email

Featured Video (see all)


Severe mega-droughts predicted for North America if greenhouse pollution persists
California is suffering from severe droughts right now – but scientists say it is just a fraction of…

Featured Image (see all)


Ops-Sat: The flying software laboratory for space
This replica of ESA’s Ops-Sat was displayed at this month’s Agency Technology workshop. The mini-satellite is made up…