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Transgenic animal models for study of the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease and therapy

Authors Chang R, Liu X, Li S, Li X

Received 23 January 2015

Accepted for publication 10 March 2015

Published 15 April 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 2179—2188

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S58470

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou


Renbao Chang,1 Xudong Liu,1 Shihua Li,2 Xiao-Jiang Li1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

Abstract: Huntington’s disease (HD) is caused by a genetic mutation that results in polyglutamine expansion in the N-terminal regions of huntingtin. As a result, this polyQ expansion leads to the misfolding and aggregation of mutant huntingtin as well as age-dependent neurodegeneration. The genetic mutation in HD allows for generating a variety of animal models that express different forms of mutant huntingtin and show differential pathology. Studies of these animal models have provided an important insight into the pathogenesis of HD. Mouse models of HD include transgenic mice, which express N-terminal or full-length mutant huntingtin ubiquitously or selectively in different cell types, and knock-in mice that express full-length mutant Htt at the endogenous level. Large animals, such as pig, sheep, and monkeys, have also been used to generate animal HD models. This review focuses on the different features of commonly used transgenic HD mouse models as well as transgenic large animal models of HD, and also discusses how to use them to identify potential therapeutics. Since HD shares many pathological features with other neurodegenerative diseases, identification of therapies for HD would also help to develop effective treatment for different neurodegenerative diseases that are also caused by protein misfolding and occur in an age-dependent manner.

Keywords: transgenic animal models, Huntington’s disease, pathogenesis, therapy

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