New discovery in fight against Huntington's disease
Researchers at National University of Ireland Galway have made a significant scientific discovery in the fight against Huntington's disease. The novel findings are published 21 February in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.
Huntington's disease is an incurable, inherited, neurodegenerative disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional disturbances, and severe mental deterioration. It affects over 100,000 people worldwide, with another 300,000 likely to develop symptoms in their lifetime. There is currently no way to halt progression of the disease, and available treatments are designed only to manage the symptoms.
The new research identifies specific enzymes called HDACs, or histone deacetylase complexes, as positive agents for the mutation that underlies Huntington's disease. When HDACs are active, they exacerbate the disease-causing mutation in cells, possibly contributing to the severity of the disorder. The new research found that blocking these HDACs with experimental drugs greatly reduced the risk of further mutation.
"Ongoing mutations in the brain of Huntington's patients are thought to drive progression of the disease," said Professor Robert Lahue of National University of Ireland Galway's Centre for Chromosome Biology, and lead author on the new research paper. "Our discovery suggests that inhibiting HDAC function slows down the mutation process, and thereby could slow disease progression. A key finding of the research was to pinpoint specific HDACs for selective inhibition."
Several laboratories in the United States of America are currently testing new HDAC inhibitors for efficacy and safety in laboratory models of Huntington's and other diseases. Professor Lahue and his research group hope to work with these labs to evaluate the effect of HDAC inhibitors on the mutational process.
"Huntington's is a particularly cruel disease, as it is passed from parent to child, often with increased severity or earlier onset," Professor Lahue adds. "With modern genetic testing, people can now establish whether they received the mutant gene from their parent, but then they live a waiting game for the onset of symptoms, which usually appear around the age of 40."
Professor Lahue emphasised that the HDAC inhibitors are still experimental, and that their development to potential drugs is still some way off. "It is very exciting that basic research at National University of Ireland Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, has created a new possibility for helping Huntington's patients and their families."
The findings may also have implications for research into certain other neurological disorders, such as myotonic dystrophy type I, a type of muscular dystrophy caused by the same sort of mutation as seen in Huntington's.
More information: Debacker K, Frizzell A, Gleeson O, Kirkham-McCarthy L, Mertz T, et al. (2012) Histone Deacetylase Complexes Promote Trinucleotide Repeat Expansions. PLoS Biol 10(2): e1001257. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001257
Provided by Public Library of Science
- Research offers clue to halt Huntington's disease Mar 25, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Compound may provide drug therapy approach for Huntington's disease Jun 23, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers link Huntington's disease to overactive immune response in the brain Jul 14, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- New insight into the cellular defects in Huntington's disease Oct 10, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers link Huntington's disease to overactive immune response in the brain Jul 16, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
5 hours ago Alright, so in Pathfinder (like Dungeons and Dragons) there's a spell that allows you to lift/move stuff within 25 ft with 5 pounds of force. A...
7 hours ago So energy can only be converted... So when you squeeze the bulb on a blood pressure cuff, you are applying kinetic energy. Then the cuff fills with...
How does momentum, inertia and drag affect the motion of an object?
10 hours ago How does momentum and inertia affect changes in speed, when considering acceleration from thrust, or from decelleration from drag? Say, for a...
What is Time-Varying Voltage?
11 hours ago In circuits, we have no problem saying that the voltage difference between two point is [itex]\cos(\omega t)[/itex], but what does that actually...
Contextual Relationships Between Momentum, Energy, and Force.
13 hours ago *I apologize in advance for the length of this post, if you wish to reduce reading skip to paragraph 5. Or if you are super lazy, the final...
Barometric pressure and the math behind it. Very interesting, I think.
14 hours ago Hey guys, I was actually researching the life of Edmond Halley and discovered that he discovered the relationship between barometric pressure and the...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Faulty energy production in brain cells leads to disorders ranging from Parkinson's to intellectual disability
Neuroscientist Patrik Verstreken of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and KU Leuven has shown for the first time that dysfunctional mitochondria in brain cells can lead to learning disabilities. The link between ...
Parkinson's & Movement disorders May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (2) | 0
McGill University researchers have unlocked a new door to developing drugs to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. Collaborating teams led by Dr. Edward A. Fon at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The ...
Parkinson's & Movement disorders May 09, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
New research reveals that Solanaceae—a flowering plant family with some species producing foods that are edible sources of nicotine—may provide a protective effect against Parkinson's disease. The study appearing today ...
Parkinson's & Movement disorders May 09, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have exposed the possible function, in the healthy brain, of a mysterious molecule that has been strongly implicated in Parkinson's ...
Parkinson's & Movement disorders May 01, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
A protein known to be a key player in the development of Parkinson's disease is able to enter and harm cells in the same way that viruses do, according to a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study.
Parkinson's & Movement disorders Apr 25, 2013 | 5 / 5 (5) | 0 |
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
19 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
16 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |