CHDI Management CHDI Foundation

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CHDI Management CHDI Foundation

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Mestre T.A.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Sampaio C.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Sampaio C.,University of Lisbon
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports | Year: 2017

Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative condition caused by a CAG trinucleotide expansion in the huntingtin gene. At present, the HD field is experiencing exciting times with the assessment for the first time in human subjects of interventions aimed at core disease mechanisms. Out of a portfolio of interventions that claim a potential disease-modifying effect in HD, the target huntingtin has more robust validation. In this review, we discuss the spectrum of huntingtin-lowering therapies that are currently being considered. We provide a critical appraisal of the validation of huntingtin as a drug target, describing the advantages, challenges, and limitations of the proposed therapeutic interventions. The development of these new therapies relies strongly on the knowledge of HD pathogenesis and the ability to translate this knowledge into validated pharmacodynamic biomarkers. Altogether, the goal is to support a rational drug development that is ethical and cost-effective. Among the pharmacodynamic biomarkers under development, the quantification of mutant huntingtin in the cerebral spinal fluid and PET imaging targeting huntingtin or phosphodiesterase 10A deserve special attention. Huntingtin-lowering therapeutics are eagerly awaited as the first interventions that may be able to change the course of HD in a meaningful way. © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Plotkin J.L.,Northwestern University | Day M.,Northwestern University | Peterson J.D.,Northwestern University | Xie Z.,Northwestern University | And 11 more authors.
Neuron | Year: 2014

Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder. The debilitating choreic movements that plague HD patients have been attributed to striatal degeneration induced by the loss of cortically supplied brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Here, we show that in mouse models of early symptomatic HD, BDNF delivery to the striatum and its activation of tyrosine-related kinase B (TrkB) receptors were normal. However, in striatal neurons responsible for movement suppression, TrkB receptors failed to properly engage postsynaptic signaling mechanisms controlling the inductionof potentiation at corticostriatal synapses. Plasticity was rescued by inhibiting p75 neurotrophin receptor(p75NTR) signaling or its downstream targetphosphatase-and-tensin-homolog-deleted-on-chromosome-10 (PTEN). Thus, corticostriatal synaptic dysfunction early in HD is attributable to a correctable defect in the response to BDNF, not its delivery. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Khakh B.S.,University of California at Los Angeles | Beaumont V.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Cachope R.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Munoz-Sanjuan I.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Neurosciences | Year: 2017

Astrocytes are abundant within mature neural circuits and are involved in brain disorders. Here, we summarize our current understanding of astrocytes and Huntington's disease (HD), with a focus on correlative and causative dysfunctions of ion homeostasis, calcium signaling, and neurotransmitter clearance, as well as on the use of transplanted astrocytes to produce therapeutic benefit in mouse models of HD. Overall, the data suggest that astrocyte dysfunction is an important contributor to the onset and progression of some HD symptoms in mice. Additional exploration of astrocytes in HD mouse models and humans is needed and may provide new therapeutic opportunities to explore in conjunction with neuronal rescue and repair strategies. Astrocytes are involved in HD.Astrocyte dysfunctions contribute to HD pathophysiology in mice.Transplanted astrocytes produce therapeutic benefit in HD model mice.Targeting astrocyte dysfunction may provide new therapeutic targets in HD. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.


Tabrizi S.J.,University College London | Scahill R.I.,University College London | Owen G.,University College London | Durr A.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | And 9 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2013

Background: TRACK-HD is a multinational prospective observational study of Huntington's disease (HD) that examines clinical and biological findings of disease progression in individuals with premanifest HD (preHD) and early-stage HD. We aimed to describe phenotypic changes in these participants over 36 months and identify baseline predictors of progression. Methods: Individuals without HD but carrying the mutant huntingtin gene (classed as preHD-A if ≥10·8 years and preHD-B if <10·8 years from predicted onset), participants with early HD (classed as HD1 if they had a total functional capacity score of 11-13 and HD2 if they had a score of 7-10), and healthy control individuals were assessed at four study sites in the Netherlands, the UK, France, and Canada. We measured 36-month change for 3T MRI, clinical, cognitive, quantitative motor, and neuropsychiatric assessments and examined their prognostic value. We also assessed the relation between disease progression and the combined effect of CAG repeat length and age. All participants were analysed according to their baseline subgroups. Longitudinal results were analysed using a combination of repeated-measure weighted least squares models and, when examining risk of new diagnosis, survival analysis. Findings: At baseline, 366 participants were enrolled between Jan 17, and Aug 26, 2008, and of these 298 completed 36-month follow-up: 97 controls, 58 participants with preHD-A, 46 with preHD-B, 66 with HD1, and 31 with HD2. In the preHD-B group, several quantitative motor and cognitive tasks showed significantly increased rates of decline at 36 months, compared with controls, whereas few had at 24 months. Of the cognitive measures, the symbol digit modality test was especially sensitive (adjusted mean loss 4·11 points [95% CI 1·49-6·73] greater than controls; p = 0·003). Among psychiatric indicators, apathy ratings specifically showed significant increases (0·34 points [95% CI 0·02-0·66] greater than controls; p = 0·038). There was little evidence of reliable change in non-imaging measures in the preHD-A group, with the exception of the speeded tapping inter-tap interval (0·01 s [95% CI 0·01-0·02] longer than controls; p = 0·0001). Several baseline imaging, quantitative motor, and cognitive measures had prognostic value, independent of age and CAG repeat length, for predicting subsequent clinical diagnosis in preHD. Of these, grey-matter volume and inter-tap interval were particularly sensitive (p = 0·013 and 0·002, respectively). Longitudinal change in these two measures was also greater in participants with preHD who received a diagnosis of HD during the study compared with those who did not, after controlling for CAG repeat length and age-related risk (p = 0·006 and 0·0003, respectively). In early HD, imaging, quantitative motor, and cognitive measures were predictive of decline in total functional capacity and tracked longitudinal change; also, neuropsychiatric changes consistent with frontostriatal pathological abnormalities were associated with this loss of functional capacity (problem behaviours assessment composite behaviour score p<0·0001). Age and CAG repeat length explained variance in longitudinal change of multimodal measures, with the effect more prominent in preHD. Interpretation: We have shown changes in several outcome measures in individuals with preHD over 36 months. These findings further our understanding of HD progression and have implications for clinical trial design. Funding: CHDI Foundation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Moumne L.,King's College London | Campbell K.,Taconic | Howland D.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Ouyang Y.,Taconic | Bates G.P.,King's College London
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion of a CAG/polyglutamine repeat for which there are no disease modifying treatments. In recent years, transcriptional dysregulation has emerged as a pathogenic process that appears early in disease progression and has been recapitulated across multiple HD models. Altered histone acetylation has been proposed to underlie this transcriptional dysregulation and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), have been shown to improve polyglutamine-dependent phenotypes in numerous HD models. However potent pan-HDAC inhibitors such as SAHA display toxic side-effects. To better understand the mechanism underlying this potential therapeutic benefit and to dissociate the beneficial and toxic effects of SAHA, we set out to identify the specific HDAC(s) involved in this process. For this purpose, we are exploring the effect of the genetic reduction of specific HDACs on HD-related phenotypes in the R6/2 mouse model of HD. The study presented here focuses on HDAC3, which, as a class I HDAC, is one of the preferred targets of SAHA and is directly involved in histone deacetylation. To evaluate a potential benefit of Hdac3 genetic reduction in R6/2, we generated a mouse carrying a critical deletion in the Hdac3 gene. We confirmed that the complete knock-out of Hdac3 is embryonic lethal. To test the effects of HDAC3 inhibition, we used Hdac3 +/- heterozygotes to reduce nuclear HDAC3 levels in R6/2 mice. We found that Hdac3 knock-down does not ameliorate physiological or behavioural phenotypes and has no effect on molecular changes including dysregulated transcripts. We conclude that HDAC3 should not be considered as the major mediator of the beneficial effect induced by SAHA and other HDAC inhibitors in HD. © 2012 Moumné et al.


Ross C.A.,Johns Hopkins University | Aylward E.H.,Seattle Childrens Research Institute | Wild E.J.,University College London | Langbehn D.R.,University of Iowa | And 11 more authors.
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2014

Huntington disease (HD) can be seen as a model neurodegenerative disorder, in that it is caused by a single genetic mutation and is amenable to predictive genetic testing, with estimation of years to predicted onset, enabling the entire range of disease natural history to be studied. Structural neuroimaging biomarkers show that progressive regional brain atrophy begins many years before the emergence of diagnosable signs and symptoms of HD, and continues steadily during the symptomatic or 'manifest' period. The continued development of functional, neurochemical and other biomarkers raises hopes that these biomarkers might be useful for future trials of disease-modifying therapeutics to delay the onset and slow the progression of HD. Such advances could herald a new era of personalized preventive therapeutics. We describe the natural history of HD, including the timing of emergence of motor, cognitive and emotional impairments, and the techniques that are used to assess these features. Building on this information, we review recent progress in the development of biomarkers for HD, and potential future roles of these biomarkers in clinical trials. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Yu-Taeger L.,University of Tübingen | Petrasch-Parwez E.,Ruhr University Bochum | Osmand A.P.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Redensek A.,University of Tübingen | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2012

Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric deficits as well as neurodegeneration and brain atrophy beginning in the striatum and the cortex and extending to other subcortical brain regions. The genetic cause is an expansion of the CAG repeat stretch in the HTT gene encoding huntingtin protein (htt). Here, we generated an HD transgenic rat model using a human bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), which contains the full-length HTT genomic sequence with 97 CAG/CAA repeats and all regulatory elements. BACHD transgenic rats display a robust, early onset and progressive HD-like phenotype including motor deficits and anxiety-related symptoms. In contrast to BAC and yeast artificial chromosome HD mouse models that express full-length mutant huntingtin, BACHD rats do not exhibit an increased body weight. Neuropathologically, the distribution of neuropil aggregates and nuclear accumulation of N-terminal mutant huntingtin in BACHD rats is similar to the observations in human HD brains. Aggregates occur more frequently in the cortex than in the striatum and neuropil aggregates appear earlier than mutant htt accumulation in the nucleus. Furthermore, we found an imbalance in the striatal striosome and matrix compartments in early stages of the disease. In addition, reduced dopamine receptor binding was detectable by in vivo imaging. Our data demonstrate that this transgenic BACHD rat line may be a valuable model for further understanding the disease mechanisms and for preclinical pharmacological studies. © 2012 the authors.


Rossin F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | D'Eletto M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | MacDonald D.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Farrace M.G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 2 more authors.
Amino Acids | Year: 2012

Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) activity has been implicated in inflammatory disease processes such as Celiac disease, infectious diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington's disease. Furthermore, four distinct biochemical activities have been described for TG2 including protein crosslinking via transamidation, GTPase, kinase and protein disulfide isomerase activities. Although the enzyme plays a complex role in the regulation of cell death and autophagy, the molecular mechanisms and the putative biochemical activity involved in each is unclear. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to determine how TG2 modulates autophagy and/or apoptosis and which of its biochemical activities is involved in those processes. To address this question, immortalized embryonic fibroblasts obtained from TG2 knock-out mice were reconstituted with either wild-type TG2 or TG2 lacking its transamidating activity and these were subjected to different treatments to induce autophagy or apoptosis. We found that knock out of the endogenous TG2 resulted in a significant exacerbation of caspase 3 activity and PARP cleavage in MEF cells subjected to apoptotic stimuli. Interestingly, the same cells showed the accumulation of LC3 II isoform following autophagy induction. These findings strongly suggest that TG2 transamidating activity plays a protective role in the response of MEF cells to death stimuli, because the expression of the wild-type TG2, but not its transamidation inactive C277S mutant, resulted in a suppression of caspase 3 as well as PARP cleavage upon apoptosis induction. Additionally, the same mutant was unable to catalyze the final steps in autophagosome formation during autophagy. Our findings clearly indicate that the TG2 transamidating activity is the primary biochemical function involved in the physiological regulation of both apoptosis and autophagy. These data also indicate that TG2 is a key regulator of cross-talk between autophagy and apoptosis. © Springer-Verlag 2011.


Sampaio C.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Borowsky B.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Reilmann R.,George Huntington Institute | Reilmann R.,University of Tübingen
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Since the identification of the Huntington's disease (HD) gene, knowledge has accumulated about mechanisms directly or indirectly affected by the mutated Huntingtin protein. Transgenic and knock-in animal models of HD facilitate the preclinical evaluation of these targets. Several treatment approaches with varying, but growing, preclinical evidence have been translated into clinical trials. We review major landmarks in clinical development and report on the main clinical trials that are ongoing or have been recently completed. We also review clinical trial settings and designs that influence drug-development decisions, particularly given that HD is an orphan disease. In addition, we provide a critical analysis of the evolution of the methodology of HD clinical trials to identify trends toward new processes and endpoints. Biomarker studies, such as TRACK-HD and PREDICT-HD, have generated evidence for the potential usefulness of novel outcome measures for HD clinical trials, such as volumetric imaging, quantitative motor (Q-Motor) measures, and novel cognitive endpoints. All of these endpoints are currently applied in ongoing clinical trials, which will provide insight into their reliability, sensitivity, and validity, and their use may expedite proof-of-concept studies. We also outline the specific opportunities that could provide a framework for a successful avenue toward identifying and efficiently testing and translating novel mechanisms of action in the HD field. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.


Howland D.S.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation | Munoz-Sanjuan I.,CHDI Management CHDI Foundation
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Unraveling the pathophysiology and testing candidate therapeutics in neurodegenerative disorders is, necessarily, highly dependent on model systems. Because Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a single (expanded CAG tract) mutation in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, a richness of model systems, particularly mice, have been engineered to both dissect disease mechanisms and test potential therapeutics. Even so, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, very little success has been achieved in translating HD mouse model drug testing results to the clinic. Because of the considerable costs-human, opportunity, and financial-there is a pressing need to improve the use of existing HD models and also to develop models in higher species beyond rodent, such as sheep, minipig, and nonhuman primate, to bridge the translational gap from preclinical to clinical testing of candidate therapeutics. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

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