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The World in Medicine
July 11, 2001

Huntington Disease Clues

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JAMA. 2001;286(2):159. doi:10.1001/jama.286.2.159-JWM10006-3-1

Scientists have known for some time that striatal neurons selectively die in the brains of patients with Huntington disease (HD) and have assumed that this event is caused by a mutated version of a protein called huntingtin. Now, new research by an international team of investigators from Italy, Canada, the United States, and Sweden provides insight into the function of normal huntingtin protein, a finding that could point toward new treatment strategies for the disease.

The researchers discovered that huntingtin regulates the production of another protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is essential for survival of striatal neurons.

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