Background Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Patients affected by HD are impaired in motor and cognitive abilities and present neuropsychiatric symptoms. BACHD rats are a model of HD expressing the full length mutant human HTT under the control of the human HTT promoter.AimThe purpose of this study was to phenotype BACHD rats for anxiety, cognition and motor functionality.
Methods BACHD rats and WT controls, between 1 and 6 months of age, were subjected to open field (OF), elevated plus maze (EPM), passive avoidance (PA), and rotarod tests. Body weight measurements were taken once a month.
Results BACHD rats, compared to controls, showed: decreased time spent in the inner area as well as lower number of zone transitions in OF at 1 and 3 months; decreased distance and speed in OF at 3 months; alterations in EPM behaviour at 4 months; unchanged emotional and associative learning at 6 months and progressively impaired motor coordination starting from month 2. Body weight did not change throughout the experiment.
Conclusions The impairment in motor function as well as the behavioural alterations indicates that BACHD rats may be a model representative of the human disease.
- BACHD rats
- associative learning
- motor coordination