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Molecular Imaging in Huntington's Disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Heather Margaret Wilson, Marios Politis

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-333
JournalInternational Review of Neurobiology
Early online date29 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018

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Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is a rare monogenic neurodegenerative disorder caused by a trinucleotide CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene resulting in the formation of intranuclear inclusions of mutated huntingtin. The accumulation of mutated huntingtin leads to loss of GABAergic medium spiny neurons (MSNs); subsequently resulting in the development of chorea, cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric symptoms. Premanifest HD gene expansion carriers, provide a unique cohort to examine very early molecular changes, occurring before the development of overt symptoms, to elucidate disease pathophysiology and identify reliable biomarkers of HD progression. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non-invasive molecular imaging technique allowing the evaluation of specific molecular targets in vivo. Selective PET radioligands provide invaluable tools to investigate the role of the dopaminergic system, brain metabolism, microglial activation, phosphodiesterase 10A, and cannabinoid, GABA, adenosine and opioid receptors in HD. PET has been employed to monitor disease progression aiming to identify a reliable biomarker to predict phenoconversion from premanifest to manifest HD.

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