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αB-Crystallin overexpression in astrocytes modulates the phenotype of the BACHD mouse model of Huntington's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tiago OuteiroORCiD


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© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the huntingtin (htt) protein. The polyQ expansion increases the propensity of htt to aggregate and accumulate, and manipulations that mitigate protein misfolding or facilitate the clearance of misfolded proteins are predicted to slow disease progression in HD models. αB-crystallin (αBc) or HspB5 is a well-characterized member of the small heat shock protein (sHsp) family that reduces mutant htt (mhtt) aggregation and toxicity in vitro and in Drosophila models of HD. Here, we determined if overexpressing αBc in vivo modulates aggregation and delays the onset and progression of disease in a full-length model of HD, BACHD mice. Expression of sHsps in neurodegenerative disease predominantly occurs in non-neuronal cells, and in the brain, αBc is mainly found in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Here, we show that directed αBc overexpression in astrocytes improves motor performance in rotarod and balance beam tests and improves cognitive function in the BACHD mice. Improvement in behavioral deficits correlated with mitigation of neuropathological features commonly observed in HD. Interestingly, astrocytic αBc overexpression was neuroprotective against neuronal cell loss in BACHD brains, suggesting αBc might be acting in a non-cell-autonomous manner. At the protein level, αBc decreased the level of soluble mhtt and decreased the size of mhtt inclusions in BACHD brain. Our results support a model in which elevating astrocytic αBc confers neuroprotection through a potential non-cell-autonomous pathway that modulates mhtt aggregation and protein levels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oliveira AO, Osmand A, Outeiro TF, Muchowski PJ, Finkbeiner S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Molecular Genetics

Year: 2016

Volume: 25

Issue: 9

Pages: 1677-1689

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 26/02/2016

Acceptance date: 01/02/2016

ISSN (print): 0964-6906

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2083

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddw028

PubMed id: 26920069


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