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Age-Related Huntington’s Disease Impairs Autophagy!



Huntington's Disease

Is your loved one suffering from Huntington’s disease? If that is the case, here’s a blog for you to get to know the disease better.

Huntington’s disease is a fatal, and inherited disease. It is a neurodegenerative condition that is present due to a genetic error. These genetic errors are present by birth.

Its symptoms do not appear that prominently until adulthood- and many researchers are still going around to find the right diagnosis for the same.

Is Autophagy A Cause Of Cell Death?

Scientists around are trying to figure out its symptoms and understand the overall aging process that triggers. Neurodegeneration is an issue of concern, we still do not have an obvious technology that can diagnose and treat such problems. We are still looking into the treatments that can either prevent or delay the same.

 Age-Related Huntington's Disease Impairs Autophagy

It was a new study by Washington University that indicated that as patients age, the disease starts to act at its full potential. It gradually impairs cellular Housekeeping which is also called autophagy. 

Autophagy is responsible for damaging the basic housekeeping functions of cells to eliminate waste from cells. Huntington’s disease can rupture the cells and lead to neuron damage, ultimately resulting in cell death. 

There were various studies conducted by Andrew S. Yoo, who is a Ph.D. working as the senior author and professor at Developmental Biology, Washington University. He compiled his research in the journal Nature Neuroscience to offer clues to the understanding of cognitive declination with aging. 

What Does The Huntington’s Disease Do?

Huntington’s disease destroys the main and specific type of brain cells called medium spiny neurons. Its loss can result in involuntary muscle movements and impaired mental health.

These factors decline the overall cognitive health of the person. After the signs and symptoms, patients may live up to 20 years given that they adjust to the new lifestyle and medical changes. 

This health condition is emotionally challenging as well. One may not feel right after being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. It is important to keep track of the patient and make them visit the medical professional every now and then. 

The disease impairs autophagy in old patients- a study was conducted on the patient’s skin cells. These were taken into the medium spiny neurons, and skin cells were transformed directly into various brain cells in the person.

One of the common techniques to do so was stem cells. These set the biological clock of the person in their early developmental stage. 

Different cell samples were collected with all age groups and disease models. The symptoms were differently developed as every age group has different genetic mutations in the Huntingtin gene. These studies were conducted to see the differences between young and old age groups. 

Some of the exclusive findings by Andrew S. Yoo, who is a Ph.D. working as the senior author and professor at the Developmental Biology, Washington University, and team-

  • Medium spiny neurons reprogrammed old people’s skin cells. They converted them to symptomatic Hungtington’s that produced a high level of microRNA molecules. 
  • Younger people with the same disease did not have such reprogramming.
  • Impaired autophagy was seen in these reprogrammed cells. 
  • Skin cells after the conversion produced problematic microRNA and the cells began to die.

After you decide on the microRNA level, the autophagy was able to continue and protected the cells from dying. Some chemical compound called G2 also protects the neurons from early death and is used to enhance autophagy.

Final Words

With the help of Yoo and their team, many treatments were released on how to enhance autophagy. Apart from Huntington’s disease, this therapy also works on some of the forms of Alzheimer’s, tauopathy, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

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