S. Ginés, Miquel Bosch, S. Marco
Feb 1, 2006
European Journal of Neuroscience
Deficits of neurotrophic support caused by reduced levels of brain‐derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been implicated in the selective vulnerability of striatal neurones in Huntington's disease (HD). Therapeutic strategies based on BDNF administration have been proposed to slow or prevent the disease progression. However, the effectiveness of BDNF may depend on the proper expression of its receptor TrkB. In this study, we analysed the expression of TrkB in several HD models and in postmortem HD brains. We found a specific reduction of TrkB receptors in transgenic exon‐1 and full‐length knock‐in HD mouse models and also in the motor cortex and caudate nucleus of HD brains. Our findings also demonstrated that continuous expression of mutant huntingtin is required to down‐regulate TrkB levels. This was shown by findings in an inducible HD mouse model showing rescue of TrkB by turning off mutant huntingtin expression. Interestingly, the length of the polyglutamine tract in huntingtin appears to modulate the reduction of TrkB. Finally, to analyse the effect of BDNF in TrkB we compared TrkB expression in mutant huntingtin R6/1 and double mutant (R6/1 : BDNF+/–) mice. Similar TrkB expression was found in both transgenic mice suggesting that reduced TrkB is not a direct consequence of decreased BDNF. Therefore, taken together our findings identify TrkB as an additional component that potentially might contribute to the altered neurotrophic support in HD.