Stem Cell Treatments for Huntington's Disease

Stem Cell Treatments for Huntington's Disease are Currently Available at SIRM.

Area of the brain most damaged in early Huntington's disease – striatum (shown in purple)

Stem Cell Treatment for Huntingtons

Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and dementia. It typically becomes noticeable in middle age. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea, and indeed the disease used to be called Huntington's chorea.

It is much more common in people of Western European descent than in those of Asian or African ancestry. The disease is caused by an autosomal dominant mutation on either of an individual's two copies of a gene called Huntingtin, which means any child of an affected parent has a 50% risk of inheriting the disease. In the rare situations where both parents have an affected copy, the risk increases to 75%, and when either parent has two affected copies, the risk is 100% (all children will be affected). Physical symptoms of Huntington's disease can begin at any age from infancy to old age, but usually begin between 35 and 44 years of age. About 6% of cases start before the age of 21 years with an akinetic-rigid syndrome; they progress faster and vary slightly.

Huntington's Disease treatment studies and stem cell protocols listed below, and at SIRM, we aim to treat Huntington's with Stem Cell Therapy

NIH Streaming Database:

Related Articles Altered Expression of Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Endogenous Inhibitors in a Human Isogenic Stem Cell Model of Huntington's Disease. Front Neurosci. 2017;11:736 Authors: Naphade S, Embusch A, Madushani KL, Ring KL, Ellerby LM Abstract Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive movement disorder, psychiatric symptoms, and cognitive impairments. HD is caused by a CAG repeat expansion encoding a stretch of polyglutamine residues in the N-terminus of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) protein. Proteolytic processing of mHTT yields toxic fragments, which cause neurotoxicity and massive neuronal cell death predominantly in the striatum and cortex. Inhibition of mHTT cleavage reduces neuronal toxicity suggesting mHTT proteolysis contributes to HD pathogenesis. A previously conducted unbiased siRNA screen in our lab for known human proteases identified matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) as modifiers of mHTT proteolysis and toxicity. To further study MMP activation in HD, isogenic HD, and control corrected (C116) neural stem cells (NSCs) prepared from HD patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells were used to examine the role of MMPs and their endogenous inhibitors in this highly relevant model system. We found altered expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 (gelatinases), MMP-3/10, and MMP-14, activity in HD-NSCs when compared to control C116-NSCs. Dysregulation in MMP activity was accompanied with concomitant changes in levels of endogenous inhibitors of MMPs, called tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs). Specifically, we observed decreased levels of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in HD-NSCs, suggesting part of the altered expression and activity of MMPs is due to lower abundance of these endogenous inhibitors. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed increased MMP/TIMP localization in the nucleus or aggregates of HD-NSCs, suggesting potential interaction with mHTT. TIMP-1 was found to associate with mHTT aggregates in discrete punctate structures in HD-NSCs. These events collectively contribute to increased neurotoxicity in HD. Previous characterization of these NSCs revealed transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) pathway as the top dysregulated pathway in HD. TGF-β was significantly upregulated in HD-NSCs and addition of TGF-β to HD-NSCs was found to be neuroprotective. To determine if TGF-β regulated MMP and TIMP activity, C116- and HD-NSCs were exogenously treated with recombinant TGF-β. TIMP-1 levels were found to be elevated in response to TGF-β treatment, representing a potential mechanism through which elevated TGF-β levels confer neuroprotection in HD. Studying the mechanism of action of MMPs and TIMPs, and their interactions with mHTT in human isogenic patient-derived NSCs elucidates new mechanisms of HD neurotoxicity and will likely provide novel therapeutics for treatment of HD. PMID: 29459817 [PubMed]
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