Mechanisms of tissue damage in Huntington’s disease involve excitotoxicity, mitochondrial damage, and inflammation, including microglia activation. Immunomodulatory and anti-protein aggregation properties of tetracyclines were demonstrated in several disease models. In the present study, the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of the tetracycline doxycycline were investigated in the mouse model of HD disease R6/2. Transgenic mice were daily treated with doxycycline 20 mg/kg, starting from 4 weeks of age. After sacrifice, histological and immunohistochemical studies were performed. We found that doxycycline-treated R6/2 mice survived longer and displayed less severe signs of neurological dysfunction than the saline-treated ones. Primary outcome measures such as striatal atrophy, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and the negative modulation of microglial reaction revealed a neuroprotective effect of the compound. Doxycycline provided a significantly increase of activated CREB and BDNF in the striatal neurons, along with a down modulation of neuroinflammation, which, combined, might explain the beneficial effects observed in this model. Our findings show that doxycycline treatment could be considered as a valid therapeutic approach for HD.
- Huntington’s disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience