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Profile of pridopidine and its potential in the treatment of Huntington disease: the evidence to date

Authors Squitieri F, de Yebenes JG

Received 19 July 2015

Accepted for publication 14 September 2015

Published 28 October 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 5827—5833


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Ferdinando Squitieri,1 Justo Garcia de Yebenes2

1IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo and Mendel Institute of Human Genetics, Rome, Italy; 2Fundación para Investigaciones Neurológicas, Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Huntington disease (HD) is a chronic, genetic, neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure. The main symptoms of HD are abnormal involuntary movements (chorea and dystonia), impaired voluntary movements (ie, incoordination and gait balance), progressive cognitive decline, and psychiatric disturbances. HD is caused by a CAG-repeat expanded mutation in the HTT gene, which encodes the huntingtin protein. The inherited mutation results in the production of an elongated polyQ mutant huntingtin protein (mHtt). The cellular functions of the Htt protein are not yet fully understood, but the functions of its mutant variant are thought to include alteration of gene transcription and energy production, and dysregulation of neurotransmitter metabolism, receptors, and growth factors. The phenylpiperidines pridopidine (4-[3-methanesulfonyl-phenyl]-1-propyl-piperidine; formerly known as ACR16) and OSU6162 ([S]-[-]-3-[3-methane [sulfonyl-phenyl]-1-propyl-piperidine) are members of a new class of pharmacologic agents known as “dopamine stabilizers”. Recent clinical trials have highlighted the potential of pridopidine for symptomatic treatment of patients with HD. More recently, the analysis of HD models (ie, in vitro and in mice) highlighted previously unknown effects of pridopidine (increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, reduction in mHtt levels, and σ-1 receptor binding and modulation). These additional functions of pridopidine suggest it might be a neuroprotective and disease-modifying drug. Data from ongoing clinical trials of pridopidine will help define its place in the treatment of HD. This commentary examines the available preclinical and clinical evidence regarding the use of pridopidine in HD.

Keywords: Huntington disease, dopamine, neuroprotection, pridopidine

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