- HDSA Research Webinar: Leaving a Legacy, Brain Donation for HD Research
- HDBuzz on Transplanting cells in HD mice brains
- This Month in HD History
HDSA Research Webinar: Leaving a Legacy, Brain Donation for HD Research
Brain donation is an invaluable gift that makes a lasting scientific impact for generations to come. Powerful, novel and rapidly evolving methodologies in the field of research on brain disorders confer a renewed sense of urgency to scientists investigating Huntington’s disease. Their studies are made possible by an extraordinary legacy, brain donation, left by many people who suffered from Huntington’s disease. Join HDSA at 12PM ET on August 23rd for a research webinar exploring brain donation from multiple angles. Click here to register.
HDBuzz on Transplanting cells in HD mice brains
In last week’s blog post, we covered a research study in which scientists transplanted supportive brain cells, called glia, into the brains of mice engineered to have HD. The researchers found that younger, transplanted cells were able to replace older, sick cells that were affected by HD. While exciting, this study also comes with questions—such as whether this experimental process has the power to effect change to HD symptoms. The HD Buzz team breaks down the article in more detail and considers further avenues for exploration in their most recent article—read their take here.
This Month in HD History
HD is caused by an expansion of an area in the huntingtin gene called the polyglutamine tract, made up of CAG repeats in the DNA coding of the gene. When HD is passed down from generation to generation, the length of the CAG repeat can sometimes increase a little (or a lot). This is important because the onset of symptoms is influenced by CAG repeat length. It’s very variable, and also depends on many other factors, but more CAG repeats can lead to an earlier onset. A person with 41 CAGs in their HD gene will sometimes pass down more CAG repeats to their child (like 42, 43, 50, or more). This phenomenon is called anticipation, and it’s part of the reason that people in the same family sometimes get symptoms at such different ages.
In August of 1995, researchers studied hundreds of families and published key findings about differences in the HD gene between parents and children. They found that when dads with HD passed the gene to their children, the CAG number was more likely to jump much higher between generations, sometimes leading to Juvenile Huntington’s Disease (JHD). Understanding this aspect of HD inheritance has helped to better guide the diagnosis of JHD. If you want a deeper look, the original published article can be read here. v