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Genetic Knock-Down of Hdac3 Does Not Modify Disease-Related Phenotypes in a Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031080
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetics
  • Model Organisms
  • Animal Models
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Gene Expression
  • Neuroscience
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion of a CAG/polyglutamine repeat for which there are no disease modifying treatments. In recent years, transcriptional dysregulation has emerged as a pathogenic process that appears early in disease progression and has been recapitulated across multiple HD models. Altered histone acetylation has been proposed to underlie this transcriptional dysregulation and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such as suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), have been shown to improve polyglutamine-dependent phenotypes in numerous HD models. However potent pan-HDAC inhibitors such as SAHA display toxic side-effects. To better understand the mechanism underlying this potential therapeutic benefit and to dissociate the beneficial and toxic effects of SAHA, we set out to identify the specific HDAC(s) involved in this process. For this purpose, we are exploring the effect of the genetic reduction of specific HDACs on HD-related phenotypes in the R6/2 mouse model of HD. The study presented here focuses on HDAC3, which, as a class I HDAC, is one of the preferred targets of SAHA and is directly involved in histone deacetylation. To evaluate a potential benefit of Hdac3 genetic reduction in R6/2, we generated a mouse carrying a critical deletion in the Hdac3 gene. We confirmed that the complete knock-out of Hdac3 is embryonic lethal. To test the effects of HDAC3 inhibition, we used Hdac3+/− heterozygotes to reduce nuclear HDAC3 levels in R6/2 mice. We found that Hdac3 knock-down does not ameliorate physiological or behavioural phenotypes and has no effect on molecular changes including dysregulated transcripts. We conclude that HDAC3 should not be considered as the major mediator of the beneficial effect induced by SAHA and other HDAC inhibitors in HD.

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