Huntington disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder that results from expansion of the polyglutamine repeat in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. There are currently no effective treatments for this devastating disease. Given its monogenic nature, disease modification therapies for HD should be theoretically feasible. Currently, pharmacological therapies aimed at disease modification by altering levels of HTT protein are in late-stage preclinical development. Here, we review current efforts to develop new treatments for HD based on our current understanding of HTT function and the main pathological mechanisms. We emphasize the need to enhance translational efforts and highlight the importance of aligning the clinical and basic research communities to validate existing hypotheses in clinical studies. Human and animal therapeutic trials are presented with an emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms relevant to disease progression.
Ignacio Munoz-Sanjuan, Gillian P. Bates
Recent studies have focused on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the emergence of clinical signs and symptoms in early stage Huntington disease (HD). Although cell-based assays have focused on cell autonomous effects of mutant huntingtin, animal HD models have revealed alterations in the function of neuronal networks, particularly those linking the cerebral cortex and striatum. These findings are complemented by metabolic imaging studies of disease progression in premanifest subjects. Quantifying metabolic progression at the systems level may identify network biomarkers to aid in the objective assessment of new disease-modifying therapies and identify new regions that merit mechanistic study in HD models.
David Eidelberg, D. James Surmeier
Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease with complete penetrance. Although the understanding of the cellular mechanisms that drive neurodegeneration in HD and account for the characteristic pattern of neuronal vulnerability is incomplete, defects in energy metabolism, particularly mitochondrial function, represent a common thread in studies of HD pathogenesis in humans and animal models. Here we review the clinical, biochemical, and molecular evidence of an energy deficit in HD and discuss the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial and related alterations.
Fanny Mochel, Ronald G. Haller
Huntington disease is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a toxic expansion in the CAG repeat region of the huntingtin gene. Oligonucleotide approaches based on RNAi and antisense oligonucleotides provide promising new therapeutic strategies for direct intervention through reduced production of the causative mutant protein. Allele-specific and simultaneous mutant and wild-type allele–lowering strategies are being pursued with local delivery to the brain, each with relative merits. Delivery remains a key challenge for translational success, especially with chronic therapy. The potential of disease-modifying oligonucleotide approaches for Huntington disease will be revealed as they progress into clinical trials.
Dinah W.Y. Sah, Neil Aronin