A common hereditary disorder characterized by the progressive onset of neurodegeneration, Huntington's disease (HD) is a complex condition.
Children of HD patients have a 50% chance of inheriting the disease, but symptoms do not appear until middle age. While genetic testing reliably determines if children of HD sufferers are carriers of the disease, it cannot provide information as to when symptoms will appear. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation
, David Eidelberg and colleagues at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, evaluated changes in the brain metabolism of a small group of preclinical HD carriers over the course of seven years and identified a metabolic network that is associated with HD progression. Measurable increases in the activity of this network were predictive of time to symptom onset. This study provides biomarkers for evaluating disease progression in HD carriers and supports incorporating this assessment into clinical trials of HD treatment.