Sodium channel β4 is a very recently identified auxiliary subunit of the voltage-gated sodium channels. To find the primarily affected gene in Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis, we profiled HD transgenic mice using a high-density oligonucleotide array and identified p4 as an expressed sequence tag (EST) that was significantly down-regulated in the striatum of HD model mice and patients. Reduction in β4 started at a presymptomatic stage in HD mice, whereas other voltage-gated ion channel subunits were decreased later. In contrast, spinal cord neurons, which generate only negligible levels of expanded polyglutamine aggregates, maintained normal levels of β4 expression even at the symptomatic stage. Overexpression of β4 induced neurite outgrowth in Neuro2a cells, and caused a thickening of dendrites and increased density of dendritic spines in hippocampal primary neurons, indicating that β4 modulates neurite outgrowth activities. These results suggest that down-regulation of β4 may lead to abnormalities of sodium channel and neurite degeneration in the striatum of HD transgenic mice and patients with HD.
- Huntington's disease
- Neurite outgrowth activity
- Sodium channel β4 subunit
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience