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Mol Neurodegener DOI:10.1186/s13024-020-00379-3

Interleukin-6 deficiency exacerbates Huntington's disease model phenotypes.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWertz, MH, S Pineda, S, Lee, H, Kulicke, R, Kellis, M, Heiman, M
JournalMol Neurodegener
Date Published2020 May 24

Huntington's disease (HD) is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder caused by CAG trinucleotide expansions in the huntingtin gene. Markers of both systemic and CNS immune activation and inflammation have been widely noted in HD and mouse models of HD. In particular, elevation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is the earliest reported marker of immune activation in HD, and this elevation has been suggested to contribute to HD pathogenesis. To test the hypothesis that IL-6 deficiency would be protective against the effects of mutant huntingtin, we generated R6/2 HD model mice that lacked IL-6. Contrary to our prediction, IL-6 deficiency exacerbated HD-model associated behavioral phenotypes. Single nuclear RNA Sequencing (snRNA-seq) analysis of striatal cell types revealed that IL-6 deficiency led to the dysregulation of various genes associated with synaptic function, as well as the BDNF receptor Ntrk2. These data suggest that IL-6 deficiency exacerbates the effects of mutant huntingtin through dysregulation of genes of known relevance to HD pathobiology in striatal neurons, and further suggest that modulation of IL-6 to a level that promotes proper regulation of genes associated with synaptic function may hold promise as an HD therapeutic target.


Alternate JournalMol Neurodegener
PubMed ID32448329
Grant ListR01 NS085880 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States