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Large animal models of Huntington's disease offer new and promising research options
Date:4/22/2013

apeutics.

"Pigs, and mainly minipigs, represent a viable model for preclinical drug trials and long-term safety studies," says Jan Motlik, DVM, PhD, DSc, from the Laboratory of Cell Regeneration and Plasticity of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics in Libechov, Czech Republic. Advantages include its large brain size and long lifespan. Genetic advances have been made, including defining the porcine genome, with a 96% similarity between the porcine and human huntingtin genes. In addition to well-established methods for pig husbandry, they are economical to house and have body systems very similar to that of humans.

In the report by Baxa et al., a new HD minipig model using lentiviral infection of porcine embryos is described. The authors report that they successfully developed a heterozygote transgenic HD minipig that expresses a human mutant HTT fragment throughout the CNS and peripheral tissues through 4 successive generations. The model produces viable offspring, with a total neonatal mortality rate of 17%. The authors reported that one affected HD minipig showed a decline beginning at 16 months of a neuronal phosphoprotein, DARPP32, in the neostriatum, the brain region most affected by HD. A loss of fertility, possibly HD related, was also found.


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Contact: Daphne Watrin
d.watrin@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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