Abstract

Motor dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and regional cortical atrophy indicate cerebral cortical involvement in Huntington disease (HD). To address the hypothesis that abnormal corticostriatal connectivity arises from polyglutamine-related alterations in cortical gene expression, we isolated layer 5 cortical neurons by laser-capture microdissection and analyzed transcriptome-wide mRNA changes in them. Enrichment of transcription factor mRNAs including foxp2, tbr1, and neuroD6, and neurotransmission- and plasticity-related RNAs including sema5A, pclo, ntrk2, cntn1, and Lin7b were observed. Layer 5 motor cortex neurons of transgenic R6/2 HD mice also demonstrated numerous transcriptomic changes, including decreased expression of mRNAs encoding the Lin7 homolog b ([Lin7b] also known as veli-2 and mals2). Decreases in LIN7B and CNTN1 RNAs were also detected in human HD layer 5 motor cortex neurons. Lin7 homolog b, a scaffold protein implicated in synaptic plasticity, neurite outgrowth, and cellular polarity, was decreased at the protein level in layer 5 cortical neurons in R6/2 mice and human HD brains. Decreases in Lin7b and Lin7a mRNAs were detected in R6/2 cortex as early as 6 weeks of age, suggesting that this is an early pathogenetic event. Thus, decreased cortical LIN7 expression may contribute to abnormal corticostriatal connectivity in HD.

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