Some mRNAs Related To Onset and Extent of Huntington’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard H. Myers Ph.D. Department of Neurology and Genome Science Institute Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Richard H. Myers Ph.D.
Department of Neurology and Genome Science Institute
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Myers:  Andy Hoss, who is a graduate student in my group is the primary investigator for this project.

We are investigating changes that occur in the brain of individuals who had Huntington’s disease. We were focused on studying regulatory mechanisms that control the levels of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in the brain, since that is an area that has been implicated in this disease.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are known to target mRNAs for degradation or to be sequestered for storage and later use.

A few limited studies of microRNAs had been done, but we sought to measure the levels of all of the  miRNAs  present in the brains of persons with Huntington’s disease and in controls using next-generation sequencing.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Myers: We found several miRNAs that are strongly related to two important features of Huntington’s disease.
The first is the age at onset of the disease.  The levels of the miRNAs were associated with the age that  the individual began to show symptoms of the disease.
The second, and the finding that we think is especially important, is that some miRNAs were related to the extent of neuropathological involvement in the brain.
We had developed methods to finely quantify the extent of neuronal degeneration in the samples that we were studying, and specific miRNAs were reflective of the amount of neuronal cell loss.

The miRNAs may offer a window into what is happening in the brain as a biomarker for the effects of the disease.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Myers: Our findings give us important clues for which miRNAs are most likely to be indicative of changes that occur within the Huntington’s disease brain.
We are initiating studies of these miRNAs in cerebrospinal fluid in the clinic here at the Boston University School of Medicine, to investigate the utility of these measurements in patients with Huntington’s disease.  These studies will help us to evaluate the sensitivity of these measurements to the stage of the disease.

The ultimate goal is to evaluate whether these can give insight into whether treatments are slowing down or stopping the loss of brain cells that occurs in HD.

Citation:

miR-10b-5p expression in Huntington’s disease brain relates to age of onset and the extent of striatal involvement
miR-10b-5p expression in Huntington’s disease brain relates to age of onset and the extent of striatal involvement

Andrew G Hoss, Adam Labadorf, Jeanne C Latourelle, Vinay K Kartha, Tiffany C Hadzi, James F Gusella, Marcy E MacDonald, Jiang-Fan Chen, Schahram Akbarian, Zhiping Weng, Jean Paul Vonsattel and Richard H Myers

BMC Medical Genomics 2015, 8:10  doi:10.1186/s12920-015-0083-3

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard H. Myers Ph.D., Department of Neurology and Genome Science Institute,  Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA (2015). Some mRNAs Related To Onset and Extent of Huntington’s Disease 

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