Striatal infusion of cholesterol promotes dose-dependent behavioral benefits and exerts disease-modifying effects in Huntington's disease mice

Giulia Birolini, Marta Valenza, Eleonora Di Paolo, Elena Vezzoli, Francesca Talpo, Claudia Maniezzi, Claudio Caccia, Valerio Leoni, Franco Taroni, Vittoria D Bocchi, Paola Conforti, Elisa Sogne, Lara Petricca, Cristina Cariulo, Margherita Verani, Andrea Caricasole, Andrea Falqui, Gerardo Biella, Elena Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A variety of pathophysiological mechanisms are implicated in Huntington's disease (HD). Among them, reduced cholesterol biosynthesis has been detected in the HD mouse brain from pre-symptomatic stages, leading to diminished cholesterol synthesis, particularly in the striatum. In addition, systemic injection of cholesterol-loaded brain-permeable nanoparticles ameliorates synaptic and cognitive function in a transgenic mouse model of HD. To identify an appropriate treatment regimen and gain mechanistic insights into the beneficial activity of exogenous cholesterol in the HD brain, we employed osmotic mini-pumps to infuse three escalating doses of cholesterol directly into the striatum of HD mice in a continuous and rate-controlled manner. All tested doses prevented cognitive decline, while amelioration of disease-related motor defects was dose-dependent. In parallel, we found morphological and functional recovery of synaptic transmission involving both excitatory and inhibitory synapses of striatal medium spiny neurons. The treatment also enhanced endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis and clearance of mutant Huntingtin aggregates. These results indicate that cholesterol infusion to the striatum can exert a dose-dependent, disease-modifying effect and may be therapeutically relevant in HD.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 22 2020

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