About TNU and our research
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative hereditary CAG triplet repeat disorder without a cure. It is clinically characterized by anxiety, depression, metabolic disturbances, chorea and dementia. Neuropathological changes include neuronal dysfunction, protein aggregates and cell death in the cerebral cortex, the striatum and the hypothalamus.
The pathogenic process in HD and the relationships between regional changes and the behavioral consequences are not known. As it is a monogenetic disorder, experimental models of the disease may provide useful tools to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying psychiatric symptoms. Emerging studies suggest that neuroendocrine and hypothalamic changes in HD may 1) cause symptoms and signs such as anxiety, depression and metabolic disturbances, 2) provide biomarkers to track disease progression and severity, and 3) be involved in the pathogenic disease process.
Studies addressing these points using experimental models and material from patients with HD are ongoing in the research group. Techniques used in the laboratory include detailed testing of motor, cognitive, depressive-and anxiety-like behaviours, stereotactic surgery, gene targeting and disease modeling using adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV), immunohistochemistry, stereology, ELISA, RIA, Western blots, HPLC, RT-PCR as well as MRI analysis.