Differential effects of SNARE-dependent gliotransmission on behavioral phenotypes in a mouse model of Huntington's disease

Academic Article


  • Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the widely expressed huntingtin protein. Multiple studies have indicated the importance of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) in astrocytes to HD pathogenesis. Astrocytes exhibit SNARE-dependent exocytosis and gliotransmission, which can be hampered by transgenic expression of dominant negative SNARE (dnSNARE) in these glial cells. We used BACHD mice and crossed them with the dnSNARE model to determine if pan-astrocytic SNARE-dependent exocytosis plays an important role in vivo in the progression of HD behavioral phenotypes. We assessed motor and neuropsychiatric behaviors in these mice. At 12 months of age there was a significant improvement in motor coordination (rotarod test) in BACHD/dnSNARE mice when compared to BACHD mice. Analyses of open field performance revealed significant worsening of center entry (at 9 and 12 months), but not distance traveled in BACHD/dnSNARE when compared to BACHD mice, and variable/inconclusive results on vertical plane entry. While no differences between BACHD and BACHD/dnSNARE mice at 12 months of age in the forced swim test were found, we did observe a significant decrease in performance of BACHD/dnSNARE mice in the light-dark box paradigm. Thus, reduction of astrocytic SNARE-dependent exocytosis has differential effects on the psychiatric-like and motor phenotypes observed in BACHD mice. These data suggest broadly targeting SNARE-dependent exocytosis in astrocytes throughout the brain as a means to modulate gliotransmission in HD may contribute to worsening of specific behavioral deficits and perhaps a brain-region specific approach would be required.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 2468541
  • Author List

  • King AC; Wood TE; Rodriguez E; Parpura V; Gray M
  • Volume

  • 330