Background In addition to motor impairments, personal changes and cognitive deficits, the inherited neurodegenerative disorder Huntington’s disease (HD) is complicated by peripheral pathology. The mutated huntingtin gene is ubiquitously expressed, and symptoms such as weight loss, skeletal muscle wasting, altered body composition and altered metabolism are present in HD. Muscle wasting is a well-recognised phenomenon in HD, which progresses with the disease and severely affects the prognosis and quality of life. The R6/2 mouse model of HD has previously been shown to exhibit progressive body weight loss, diabetes, skeletal muscle atrophy and altered body composition.
Ghrelin, a neuropeptide produced in the stomach has been shown to have multi-tissue targets, and it has been suggested that the use of GHS-R1 agonists (Ghrelin and analogues) may be beneficial for many clinical problems such as muscle wasting, cancer cachexia, cognitive decline, diabetes and metabolic problems.
Aim In this study we evaluate the effect of ghrelin on cachexia symptoms developed in the R6/2 mouse model of HD.
Methods We treated mice with ghrelin and evaluated effects in circulation using antibody based assays and in target tissues using real-time PCR and western blot.
Results We can show that ghrelin administration postpones R6/2 mouse weight loss and normalises skeletal muscle catabolic gene expression profile.
Conclusion Further studies investigating GHS-R1 agonists for potential disease modifying effects in HD are warranted.
This study was funded by an EHDN seed fund.
- Muscle wasting
- white adipose tissue
- body weight loss
- Glucose homeostasis