Huntington"s disease (HD) is an inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in exon 1 of the huntingtin gene (HTT). The primary neuropathology of HD has been attributed to the preferential degeneration of medium spiny neurons (MSN) in the striatum. Reports on striatal neurogenesis have been a subject of debate; nevertheless, it should be considered as an endogenous attempt to repair the brain. The subventricular zone (SVZ) might offer a close-by region to supply the degenerated striatum with new cells. Previously, we have demonstrated that R6/2 mice, a widely used preclinical model representing an early onset HD, showed reduced olfactory bulb (OB) neurogenesis but induced striatal migration of neuroblasts without affecting the proliferation of neural progenitor cell (NPCs) in the SVZ. The present study revisits these findings, using a clinically more relevant transgenic rat model of late onset HD (tgHD rats) carrying the human HTT gene with 51 CAG repeats and mimicking many of the neuropathological features of HD seen in patients. We demonstrate that cell proliferation is reduced in the SVZ and OB of tgHD rats compared to WT rats. In the OB of tgHD rats, although cell survival was reduced, the frequency of neuronal differentiation was not altered in the granule cell layer (GCL) compared to the WT rats. However, an increased frequency of dopamenergic neuronal differentiation was noticed in the glomerular layer (GLOM) of tgHD rats. Besides this, we observed a selective proliferation of neuroblasts in the adjacent striatum of tgHD rats. There was no evidence for neuronal maturation and survival of these striatal neuroblasts. Therefore, the functional role of these invading neuroblasts still needs to be determined, but they might offer an endogenous alternative for stem or neuronal cell transplantation strategies.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics
Neural Stem Cells/cytology*
Neural Stem Cells/physiology