Genetic Knock-Down of HDAC7 Does Not Ameliorate Disease Pathogenesis in the R6/2 Mouse Model of Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited, progressive neurological disorder caused by a CAG/polyglutamine repeat expansion, for which there is no effective disease modifying therapy. In recent years, transcriptional dysregulation has emerged as a pathogenic process that appears early in disease progression. Administration of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) have consistently shown therapeutic potential in models of HD, at least partly through increasing the association of acetylated histones with down-regulated genes and by correcting mRNA abnormalities. The HDAC enzyme through which SAHA mediates its beneficial effects in the R6/2 mouse model of HD is not known. Therefore, we have embarked on a series of genetic studies to uncover the HDAC target that is relevant to therapeutic development for HD. HDAC7 is of interest in this context because SAHA has been shown to decrease HDAC7 expression in cell culture systems in addition to inhibiting enzyme activity. After confirming that expression levels of Hdac7 are decreased in the brains of wild type and R6/2 mice after SAHA administration, we performed a genetic cross to determine whether genetic reduction of Hdac7 would alleviate phenotypes in the R6/2 mice. We found no improvement in a number of physiological or behavioral phenotypes. Similarly, the dysregulated expression levels of a number of genes of interest were not improved suggesting that reduction in Hdac7 does not alleviate the R6/2 HD-related transcriptional dysregulation. Therefore, we conclude that the beneficial effects of HDAC inhibitors are not predominantly mediated through the inhibition of HDAC7.
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