Background Huntington’s disease (HD) can cause cognitive disturbances, including problems with attention, which can significantly affect the ability to manage independently and quality of life. Cognitive training interventions therefore offer a potential therapeutic intervention.
Aim To determine if cognitive training, that is focused on attention, can alter HD signs in a mouse model of HD.
Methods HdhQ111 heterozygous mice were given cognitive training in the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) of attention, for 20 days at 4 months of age. Two age matched control groups were also used. One control group received training in a similar task with no attentional component for a comparable number of days, and the other group were cage controls. All animals were then tested in the 5-CSRTT at 12 months of age.
Results All cognitive training regimes had a positive effect on task performance in comparison to cage controls. Attentional cognitive training, improved attentional performance in all animals and specifically improved motor performance in HD animals. In the control group who received comparable training in a non-attentional task, a positive effect of training was seen, although, this type of training did not confer any specific advantage to HD animals in comparison to wildtype animals.
Conclusion The results demonstrate that attentional cognitive training implemented at a young age improves attentional performance at an older age in both wildtype and HD mice. Attentional cognitive training also specifically improved motor performance in HD mice. This leads to the exciting possibility that specific cognitive training may improve HD related disease symptoms later in life.
- cognitive training
- mouse model
- operant testing