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      Impaired Nitric Oxide Mediated Vasodilation In The Peripheral Circulation In The R6/2 Mouse Model Of Huntington’s Disease

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          Recent evidence shows that the Huntington’s disease (HD) extends beyond the nervous system to other sites, including the cardiovascular system. Further, the cardiovascular pathology pre-dates neurological decline, however the mechanisms involved remain unclear. We investigated in the R6/2 mouse model of HD nitric oxide (NO) dependent and independent endothelial mechanisms. Femoral artery reactivity was determined by wire myography in wild type (WT) and R6/2 mice at 12 and 16 weeks of adulthood. WT mice showed increased endothelial relaxation between 12 and 16 weeks (R max: 72 ± 7% vs. 97 ± 13%, P < 0.05). In contrast, R6/2 mice showed enhanced endothelial relaxation already by 12 weeks (R max at 12w: 72 ± 7% vs. 94 ± 5%, WT vs. R6/2, P < 0.05) that declined by 16 weeks compared with WT mice (R max at 16w: 97 ± 13% vs. 68 ± 7%, WT vs. R6/2, P < 0.05). In WT mice, the increase in femoral relaxation between 12 and 16 weeks was due to enhanced NO dependent mechanisms. By 16 weeks of adult age, the R6/2 mouse developed overt endothelial dysfunction due to an inability to increase NO dependent vasodilation. The data add to the growing literature of non-neural manifestations of HD and implicate NO depletion as a key mechanism underlying the HD pathophysiology in the peripheral vasculature.

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          Exon 1 of the HD gene with an expanded CAG repeat is sufficient to cause a progressive neurological phenotype in transgenic mice.

          Huntington's disease (HD) is one of an increasing number of neurodegenerative disorders caused by a CAG/polyglutamine repeat expansion. Mice have been generated that are transgenic for the 5' end of the human HD gene carrying (CAG)115-(CAG)150 repeat expansions. In three lines, the transgene is ubiquitously expressed at both mRNA and protein level. Transgenic mice exhibit a progressive neurological phenotype that exhibits many of the features of HD, including choreiform-like movements, involuntary stereotypic movements, tremor, and epileptic seizures, as well as nonmovement disorder components. This transgenic model will greatly assist in an eventual understanding of the molecular pathology of HD and may open the way to the testing of intervention strategies.
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            Contractile properties of small arterial resistance vessels in spontaneously hypertensive and normotensive rats.

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              Beyond the brain: widespread pathology in Huntington's disease.

              Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine stretch in the huntingtin protein. Today, more than 15 years after the genetic defect underlying HD was discovered, the pathogenesis is still not well understood and there is no adequate treatment. Research into this disorder has conventionally focused on neurological symptoms and brain pathology, particularly neurodegeneration in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex. Mutant huntingtin is, however, ubiquitously expressed throughout the body. Indeed, contrary to earlier thinking, HD is associated with abnormalities in peripheral tissues. These abnormal changes are not all secondary to brain dysfunction, but most seem to be directly caused by expression of mutant huntingtin in peripheral tissues. In this article, we highlight this emerging field of research and how it might affect our understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease, the development of novel biomarkers of disease progression, and the identification of new potential treatments.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, University of Cambridge , Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EG, UK
                Author notes

                Present address: Programa de Fisiopatología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                16 May 2016
                : 6
                Copyright © 2016, Macmillan Publishers Limited

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