Expression analysis of novel striatal-enriched genes in Huntington disease
Selective degeneration of striatal neurons is a pathologic hallmark of Huntington disease (HD). The exact mechanism(s) behind this specific neurodegeneration is still unknown. Expression studies of diseased human post-mortem brain, as well as different mouse models exhibiting striatal degeneration, have demonstrated changes in the expression of many important genes with a large proportion of changes being observed in the striatal-enriched genes. These investigations have raised questions about how enrichment of particular transcripts in the striatum can lead to its selective vulnerability to neurodegeneration. Monitoring the expression changes of striatal-enriched genes during the course of the disease may be informative about their potential involvement in selective degeneration. In this study, we analyzed a Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) database (www.mouseatlas.org) and compared the mouse striatum to 18 other brain regions to generate a novel list of striatal-enriched transcripts. These novel striatal-enriched transcripts were subsequently evaluated for expression changes in the YAC128 mouse model of HD, and differentially expressed transcripts were further examined in human post-mortem caudate samples. We identified transcripts with altered expression in YAC128 mice, which also showed consistent expression changes in human post-mortem tissue. The identification of novel striatal-enriched genes with altered expression in HD offers new avenues of study, leading towards a better understanding of specific pathways involved in the selective degeneration of striatal neurons in HD.