Optogenetic stimulation improves alterations in Huntington’s disease experimental models

Huntington’s disease is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease featured by alterations in movement, cognitive deficiency and psychiatric disorders resulting from the degeneration of neurons in the striatum nucleus of the brain. A study led by researchers of the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB (UBNeuro) has characterized one of the neuronal circuits involved in the development of the disease: the connection of the secondary motor cortex (M2) in the dorsolateral striatum nucleus (DSL).

The study, published in the journal eLife, shows in an animal model with the pathology, that optogenetic stimulation of the circuit causes improvements in the typical symptomatology of the disease. According to the researchers, these results shed light to other pathologies with similar traits such as Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome.

The study is led by Mercè Masana, tenure track-1 lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine of the UB and researcher at UBNeuro, IDIBAPS and the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED). The study counts on the participation of the lecturers and researchers from the same faculty Jordi Alberch and Manuel José Rodríguez (UBNeuro-IDIBAPS), and David Bernal-Casas, from the Faculty of Biology of the UB. Among other participants are also the researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Mental Health (CIBERSAM) and the IDIBAPS Magnetic Resonance Imaging Unit.