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Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript is increased in Huntington disease

Authors

  • Maria Björkqvist PhD,

    1. Neuronal Survival Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden
    2. Unit of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden
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  • Blair R. Leavitt MD,

    1. Center for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Child and Family Research Institute, BC Children′s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Jörgen E. Nielsen MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Medical Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Memory Disorders Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Rikshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Bernhard Landwehrmeyer MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
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  • Daniel Ecker MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
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  • Hindrik Mulder MD, PhD,

    1. Unit of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden
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  • Patrik Brundin MD, PhD,

    1. Neuronal Survival Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden
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  • Åsa Petersén MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuronal Survival Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden
    • Neuronal Survival Unit, Department of Experimental Medical Sciences, BMC, A10, 221 84 Lund, Sweden
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Abstract

Weight loss and anxiety frequently occur in individuals with Huntington's disease (HD) but the underlying mechanisms are not well-understood. Peptides produced in the hypothalamus are involved in regulating energy homeostasis and emotion. Recent data suggest that changes in neuropeptide levels may be reflected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and could therefore serve as biomarkers for HD. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is a neuropetide expressed in several brain regions such as the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. CART has been shown to increase anxiety and reduce food intake in rodents by as yet unknown mechanisms. Individuals with a CART mutation exhibit increased anxiety. In cross-sectional CSF samples from HD patients (n = 39), we found that levels of CART peptide were significantly increased by 23% compared to control subjects (n = 28). Increased CART levels in HD therefore hold promise as a biomarker as well as a potential pathogenic mediator of symptoms. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society

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