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Journal Article

Imbalance of p75(NTR)/TrkB protein expression in Huntington's disease: implication for neuroprotective therapies


Del Toro Ruiz,  Daniel
Department: Molecular Neurobiology / Klein, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Brito, V., Puigdellivol, M., Giralt, A., Del Toro Ruiz, D., Alberch, J., & Gines, S. (2013). Imbalance of p75(NTR)/TrkB protein expression in Huntington's disease: implication for neuroprotective therapies. CELL DEATH & DISEASE, 4: e595. doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.116.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-AF3D-5
Neuroprotective therapies based on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) administration have been proposed for Huntington's disease (HD) treatment. However, our group has recently reported reduced levels of TrkB in HD mouse models and HD human brain suggesting that besides a decrease on BDNF levels a reduction of TrkB expression could also contribute to diminished neurotrophic support in HD. BDNF can also bind to p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) modulating TrkB signaling. Therefore, in this study we have analyzed the levels of p75(NTR) in several HD models, as well as in HD human brain. Our data demonstrates a p75(NTR)/TrkB imbalance in the striatum of two different HD mouse models, Hdh(Q111/111) homozygous knockin mice and R6/1 mice that was also manifested in the putamen of HD patients. The imbalance between TrkB and p75(NTR) levels in a HD cellular model did not affect BDNF-mediated TrkB activation of prosurvival pathways but induced activation of apoptotic cascades as demonstrated by increased JNK phosphorylation. Moreover, BDNF failed to protect mutant huntingtin striatal cells transfected with p75(NTR) against NMDA-mediated excitotoxicity, which was associated with decreased Akt phosphorylation. Interestingly, lack of Akt activation following BDNF and NMDA treatment correlated with increased PP1 levels. Accordingly, pharmacological inhibition of PP1 by okadaic acid (OA) prevented mutant huntingtin striatal cell death induced by NMDA and BDNF. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that the p75(NTR)/TrkB imbalance induced by mutant huntingtin in striatal cells associated with the aberrant activity of PP1 disturbs BDNF neuroprotection likely contributing to increasing striatal vulnerability in HD. On the basis of this data we hypothesize that normalization of p75(NTR) and/or TrkB expression or their signaling will improve BDNF neuroprotective therapies in HD. Cell Death and Disease (2013) 4, e595; doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.116; published online 18 April 2013