Progress towards developing a non-human primate model for Huntington's disease is reported online in Nature. The research represents the first transgenic model of human disease in non-human primates, and suggests that it will be feasible generate valuable non-human primate models not only for Huntington's disease but possibly for other human diseases.
Because of the close physiological, neurological and genetic similarities, non-human primate models of human disorders are important in understanding the pathology of disease and in developing therapeutic strategies. Huntington's disease is a severely disabling and lethal neurodegenerative disorder that usually begins to display symptoms in a patient's late forties to early fifties. Anthony Chan and colleagues establish expression of the first exon of the human huntingtin gene, which encodes a disease-typical polyglutamine expansion in monkeys, and observe some hallmark features of Huntington's disease.
The team believes that establishing such models is invaluable for understanding disease pathogenesis and for the development of early diagnostic and treatment strategies.
Anthony Chan (Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA, USA)
News & Views author:
Stephane Palfi (France Henri Mondor Hospital, Creteil, France)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza