About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Induced Epigenetic Changes may Lessen Severity of Huntington's Disease

by Julia Samuel on December 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM
Font : A-A+

Induced Epigenetic Changes may Lessen Severity of Huntington's Disease

Evidence has shown that environmental factors, such as stress levels, smoking, habit, lifestyle and even finances can trigger changes in gene expression.

While the genetic sequence remains unchanged, epigenetic changes can be passed to the next generation and have been linked to conditions such as obesity and autism-related disorders.


Epigenetic changes are often caused by DNA methylation, a process whereby a methyl group is attached to DNA, silencing gene expression.

Research suggests that a small percentage of our epigenetic tags cling on. And potentially our worst habits - smoking or overeating - are the ones that can be passed on to offspring and even further down the hereditary line.

Huntington's disease is an incurable, hereditary brain disorder causing severe damage to nerve cells and various parts of the brain to deteriorate. The affected individuals' abilities to walk, think, reason and talk are gradually eroded to such a point that they eventually become entirely reliant on other people for their care.

Scientists tested Huntington's disease-afflicted mice to test whether therapies can change gene expression in parents to help their offspring.

Elizabeth Thomas, associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), who led the study, said, "One exciting aspect of our study is that the parental drug treatment made the offspring better, not worse, like other compounds known to cause transgenerational effects."

Thomas and colleagues have tested compounds called histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors to see if they can induce "epigenetic" changes to help lessen the severity of diseases such as Huntington's.

In previous studies, the same investigators determined that the compound HDACi 4b worked to reduce symptoms and delay disease onset in mice. The researchers were curious as to know if the benefits could be passed on to offspring through epigenetics.

The compound was administered to a group of male mice with a human Huntington's disease gene and compared with a similar group of mice that did not receive the compound. After 1 month of treatment, the mice were bred, and their offspring were tested for symptoms of the disease. The offspring of the drug-treated male mice showed a delay in disease onset and a reduction of motor and cognitive symptoms that included improved performance in tests of balance, speed and memory.

The study concludes that offspring of mice treated with the drug have a delayed onset and reduced symptoms of Huntington's disease.

Source: Medindia


Recommended Reading

Latest Research News

Tackling Football at Young Age: A Risk for Brain Decline Later
Injury to the white matter explains why football players are at an increased risk for cognitive and behavioral problems later in life.
Frozen Frontier: Humans Leave a Unique Microbial Mark on Mount Everest
Located at the South Col, the rocky area between Mount Everest and Lhotse serves as the final campsite for climbers as well as a frozen legacy of hardy microbes.
How Does Protein Synthesis in Diarrhea Causing Parasite Work?
The new finding is found to be valuable for screening specific medications and treatment against Giardia and other protozoan parasites.
Unlocking the Potential of CRISPR for Reversing Vision Loss
New CRISPR genome-editing strategy was found to have a positive impact in the treatment of inherited retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
 New RT-qPCR Kit Detects Influenza, COVID-19
H3N2 Influenza: The newly developed RT-qPCR Kit to identify influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory virus has got approval from ICMR.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Induced Epigenetic Changes may Lessen Severity of Huntington's Disease Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests